Startups #nofilter had the privelage of sitting down with MySpecialistMD founder Jonathan Wiesen, who extols the virtues and staying power of virtual medicine. With remote medical consultations via their website, as well as an app on the way, MySpecialistMD is leading the way with the perfect combination of medicine and tech.
1) MySpecialist MD recently launched as a self described ‘virtual hospital’, and offers remote medical consultations. Give us a few more details about your full services.
The medical community has recently realized that modern technology can be utilized to optimize patient outcomes and improve efficiency in caring for our patients. Patients are slowly realizing the flaws in the traditional model of medical care delivery and seeking alternatives. Telemedicine has emerged as an excellent means of obtaining excellent medical treatment without the cost, inefficiencies and hassles of office – based medical care.
Moreover, telemedicine allows the provision of medical care in all areas of the world, allowing those without access – either because of technical or geographic limitations – to receive the medical treatment they need. We provide an end to end telemedicine platform, including the technology and staffing, to allow patients access to telemedicine care. Unlike many other telemedicine groups, we have a robust physician network which includes almost the entire spectrum of clinical specialists and subspecialists.
2) Why would someone use a remote consultation when they can go to a local doctor? Isn’t an in-person consultation safer and more thorough?
Telemedicine is ideally suited for:
1. Situations of low acuity, such as sinus infections, viral upper respiratory infections, medications refills, etc. where the physical examination is less important and therapy can be administered over the phone.
2. Individuals traveling who may not have access to their own personal physician but can always contact a telemedicine provider.
3. Many people don’t have access to the care that they need – either because of geographic limitations or due to the absence of the necessary providers. Telemedicine is an attractive means to provide access to physicians in these so called critical access locations.
4. An additional subset of the population would like evaluation by specialists trained at tertiary care or academic centers for second opinions of their specialty medical needs. We provide global access to expert physicians from some of the best hospitals in the US.
5) We are realizing that office based care isn’t ideal for the management of chronic diseases. They require continuous reinforcement, encouragement and monitoring to insure optimal outcomes. In utilizing the best technologies available, telemedicine is best suited to help patients with debilitating diseases overcome them and live longer.
Broadly speaking, the world has changed dramatically over the course of my lifetime – phones are no longer fixed to wall outlets: they became mobile and now are mini-computers; Purchases are no longer made with cash or checks: they are completed with credit cards, online payment portals or wires. The medical community looks eerily similar to how it has looked for decades, and it is time to adapt it to the 21st century.
3) Does MySpecialist MD have any competitors? What sets you apart from them?
Very few telemedicine companies offer the range of specialty and subspecialty services that we provide.
Moreover, we have a comprehensive chronic disease program which incorporates computer based learning and artificial intelligence into an application/software based platform. In conjunction with our robust physician network this is the best chronic disease program available.
4) What technology do you use for consultations with patients?
Every telemedicine company worth their beans uses HIPAA compliant web based video conferencing, an electronic medical record, and a software platform with APIs compatible with most systems available. We do the same.
5) Can you share with us based MySpecialistMD.com’s traffic and user data, which of your services are most in demand? And if there isn’t enough data yet, can you speculate as to what area will be most sought after?
Our primary clients are seeking specialty consultations and chronic disease management. Both of these areas are slowly gaining traction in mainstream clinical medicine. Our chronic disease program is the wave of the future in minimizing health care costs and preventing hospital re-admissions.
6) What is one aspect of your company that you are most excited about right now?
Our specialty network allows global access to some of the world’s best specialty physicians. We have democratized specialist care and I find it exciting to enable millions (or billions!) of people to have this kind of access to excellent health care.
7) What is one regret you have since your startup’s inception?
This is an excellent question. My regret is that we haven’t been aggressive enough pushing our unique physician services. We have a revolutionary platform and idea, and we should have been moving even quicker from the beginning trying to find ways of utilizing it.
8) Do you have any growth or user numbers you’d like to share with our readers?
We have a lot of exciting opportunities working with international clients doing specialty telemedicine. Unfortunately I can’t reveal more details than that.
9) Do you have any plans to release an app?
We have an app both for our clinical services as well as for our chronic disease platform.
10) How much would you like to scale the website? Any limits on growth? Or can you simply add more doctors as the site’s user base grows?
We have a unique ability to recruit doctors who are interested in providing this type of telemedicine service. It’s exciting to be able to help out physicians who are looking for this type of work, and also to help clients who otherwise wouldn’t have access to these excellent doctors.
11) Much of your startup’s business model is based on lead generation. But is there anything in the way of technology that you believe can and will dictate how far your startup can go?
We are only beginning to scratch the surface on what telemedicine can do. Clinical medicine has remained largely unchanged for the last fifty years, but I anticipate that it will look dramatically different in just a few years’ time.
12) Do you follow the news in the health sector? How important is it for doctors to keep up to date in this area?
Being a doctor means signing up for a life of continuous learning. Any time a physician isn’t keeping up he or she will be deficient in the care that they provide.
13) What website do you go to get your technology news?
I get regular email updates from all of the medical technology, mobile health and telemedicine companies.
14) One piece of advice for Startups #nofilter?
There are a lot of cheesy lines that I can write here like “follow your dreams;” “Have no regrets, etc” I think the most important thing is to truly believe that what you’re doing makes a difference. I think that our company can help change healthcare delivery on a global level – that is an amazing, if ambitious, opportunity.
Editor of Startups #nofilter