HealthTap makes a bigger push into continuing studies for doctors

HealthTap, a six-year-old, Palo Alto, Ca.-based telehealth startup that says 102,000 doctors now use its platform to connect with patients, has officially snapped up DocPhin, whose app made it easier for doctors to find and read medical research. DocPhin was founded five years ago and had raised roughly $1.6 million from investors, including Rock Health, Startup Health, and Romulus Capital.

HealthTap isn’t disclosing the purchase price. But Healthtap founder and CEO Ron Gutman says DocPhin’s technology is one of a growing number of ways that Healthtap aims to help doctors stay atop developments in their fields. It seems to underscore a turning point for Healthtap, too.

HealthTap is more widely known for a subscription service for which consumers pay a monthly fee of $99 so they can remotely access a doctor anytime. Healthtap has also been building out its enterprise business, selling subscriptions to companies like the supply chain management company Flextronics, which offers so-called Healthtap Concierge services as an employee perk.

But HealthTap is also moving more aggressively into the education space. According to Gutman, Healthtap became officially accredited by the American Medical Association last year to provide doctors with some of the continuing education credits that they need each year in order to keep their licenses.

And more recently, the 107-person company joined a handful of accredited telemedicine training programs when it developed and began offering a course about virtual care itself.

The AMA “isn’t forcing this,” explained Gutman during a sit-down with us yesterday. “But thousands of doctors come to us every week to ask questions about virtual care  how to do that, where to do that, what’s allowed, what isn’t allowed, what regulatory issues [they need to keep in mind.]

“Because lots of aspects of it are important to physicians, we took on the role of educating them.”

Whether doctors will turn to HealthTap for their continuing studies or to a more traditional provider like a university or medical institution remains to be seen. But the move looks smart on the surface. According to a February report from Accenture, telehealth is expected to become a billion-dollar industry in two years. By 2018, healthcare giant Kaiser Permanente says its doctors will perform more virtual visits than in-person office visits.

HealthTap has “publicly” raised $35 million from investors, says Gutman, including from Mohr Davidow Ventures, Mayfield Fund, and Khosla Ventures. Asked yesterday if that means the company has quietly raised more funding that it has yet to announce, Gutman joked that, “Startups are always fundraising.”