Mobile Medical Consultation Service HealthTap Launches Disaster Service HealthTap SOS

It was in the aftermath of the devastating flooding of the Indian city of Chennai that HealthTap first rolled out the services that would become its new HealthTap SOS, which the company launched today at the World Economic Forum.

Flex (formerly Flextronics) — a HealthTap customer — reached out to the mobile medical consultation service to see if it could provide support for the Flex employees that were affected by the flooding in Chennai (where Flex employs hundreds).

In all, more than 400 people were killed and 1.8 million people were displaced by the flooding, which resulted in $7 billion in damages to infrastructure in the region.

Through HealthTap, Flex employees were able to reach out to doctors via smartphones and feature phones to receive advice on how to respond to the catastrophe and to treat those civilians injured in the flooding.

“We needed to quickly provide thousands of our employees with accessible, easy-to-use information and virtual care, and that’s exactly what HealthTap delivered,” said Flex chief human resources officer Paul Baldassari in a statement. “Access to physical resources was extremely limited, and through HealthTap’s proprietary technology and deep domain expertise, we were able to help our employees and their loved ones during an extremely difficult situation.”

For HealthTap chief executive, Ron Gutman, the launch of the new SOS product is the culmination of his three-year-old vision of marrying near-universal access to medical consultations with healthcare specialists to the data harvesting and analytics capabilities of the most technologically savvy Silicon Valley startups.

Using HealthTap SOS emergency, responders can receive targeted data on the types of assistance victims may need in a crisis situation.

“Emergency services can know what type of aid to bring, where, and for who,” says Gutman, using nothing more than a smartphone and access to the HealthTap SOS app.

The company is selling the service to its existing enterprise customers as well as opening up the offering to municipalities, states, national governments and even militaries, Gutman says.

“This gives qualified emergency responders the ability to provide immediate care to victims of a crisis within minutes,” says Gutman.

The company has created a standing reference library created by doctors for customers to access, along with the ability to reach doctors via their cellphones for real-time consultations.

HealthTap is selling the service for 25 cents per individual per month covered by a healthcare provider’s or corporation’s  plan and has services in place to respond to everything from natural disasters like earthquakes, floods, or tornadoes to manmade disasters like chemical spills, nuclear accidents or terror attacks.

For now, the service is only available through health care providers and corporations, but Gutman is looking for ways to integrate with government emergency responders (it’s one of the reasons why the company launched the service at Davos).

“Many of these governments don’t even know what’s possible with technology today,” says Gutman. “They have no idea what we’re capable of doing… or how many people we can help.”