Digital house call app, Doctor On Demand is expanding beyond its web physician at a moments notice service to add help for breast-feeding moms and those in need of counseling.
The video MD startup needed to add advanced scheduling within the app to accommodate the addition of both highly in-demand lactation experts and psychology services. “We rebuilt the whole app from scratch for this,” co-founder and CEO Adam Jackson told TechCrunch.
The new app still works on the same premise as it did before but looks completely different from its initial prototype. You can still get a doctor within minutes simply by clicking the big blue “See a Medical Doctor Now” button at the top of the app. Users can now also schedule ahead by clicking on Medical, Pediatrics, Psychology, and Pregnancy and Newborns, to add a video call with a doctor or counselor in advance.
Both the lactation and psychology additions were added after a lot of user feedback to the service. Doctor On Demand says the lactation service request was a surprise. According to the CDC, about 79 percent of moms initiate breastfeeding, but those rates drop to 40 percent at only 12 weeks. “Breastfeeding doesn’t always come easy to new moms,” says Julie Jumonville, Co-Founder of UpSpring. “It’s not just physical, it’s also mental and at times very stressful.” However, experts in the breast-feeding field are apparently in high demand and face-to-face meetings with them are hard to come by at the hospital. Doctor On Demand enlisted the help of 25 breast-feeding counselors from UpSpring to fulfill this part of the service.
About 50 percent of Americans will experience mental and emotional health issues at some point in their lives, says the CDC. However, only 40% receive treatment because of the stigma that surrounds seeing doctors. “Some people may just feel low at some point or be going through something but they don’t want to go find a mental health counselor. It’s hard to admit they just need someone to talk to,” said Dr. Pat Basu, chief medical officer for Doctor On Demand. The startup wanted to take some of the shame and hassle out of getting mental treatment and decided to add this as part of its offerings in the revamp.
There are quite a few startups working on web video counseling as a service. Breakthrough iCouch and Y Combinator alum In Your Corner/Pretty Padded Room focus solely on video counseling services. In Your Corner incorporates other non-licensed services such as life coaching as well. Each varies in pricing they but pretty much stick to the same set of scheduled video offerings and ability to pick out a counselor. Doctor On Demand’s new psychological counseling service offers much of the same, but with the ability to cross reference patients to physician care should they need to get prescription medication or have other physical needs requiring attention.
Unlike the on-call doctors, counselors will not be able to provide prescription treatment. Counselors must be scheduled in advance. Those needing emergency services or with suicidal thoughts will be directed to a physician who will stay with them while they call 9-11.
The cost of a video visit with a psychologist is $50 for a 25 minute session and $95 for a 50 minute session. The cost of a video visit with a Doctor On Demand/UpSpring lactation consultant is $40 for a 25 minute session and $70 for 50 minutes. Regular appointments with an on-call physician through the app is still $40. None of this is currently covered by insurance, but Jackson did say that part was definitely in the works and could happen within the next year.