News Feature | January 2, 2015

Stay-At-Home ‘Physician Moms' Provide Telehealth

Christine Kern

By Christine Kern, contributing writer

Telehealth Care

‘Doctor Moms’ will provide answers to medical queries via text messages.

First Opinion, a mobile health startup using predominantly stay-at-home physician mothers to provide medical information via text messaging, has announced it has raised $6 million in Series A funding, according to a press release. The investment round was led by Polaris Partners, with additional contributions being made by existing investors, including True Ventures, Felicis Ventures, Scrum Ventures and Monashees Capital.

Co-founder and CEO McKay Thomas told Med City News that the platform aimed to reduce the number of unnecessary visits to physicians, which it estimated at about 70 percent of office visits. The press release states that Studies from the American Medical Association suggests show that 700,000 doctor visits could be replaced by using telehealth technologies annually.

First Opinion offers 24-hour access to trained physicians and specialists via text messaging, where they are able to text health-related questions – and even photos – to a doctor in First Opinion’s network and can receive a response in five minutes or less.

Thomas told Med City News access to the platform is free, but access to specialists costs $9 per month.

The app pairs users with a primary care physician who then provides consultations personalized for the user to determine treatment needs. Their global network of doctors is composed entirely of practicing physicians across a variety of specialties including family medicine, dermatology, pediatrics, diabetes care, emergency medicine, radiology, genetics, and others. In the last 12 months, approximately 100,000 healthcare consultations have been conducted using the mobile app.

Thomas told Med City News its doctors work 30-60 hours per week, and the service is available 24/7. And although all of its physicians are current mothers, Thomas said that could change with expansion of the company.

“First Opinion is so much more than a symptom checker search engine; we are connecting users with a single, qualified physician who can make informed recommendations and opinions based on individual circumstances,” said Thomas.

“We’re really focused on decentralizing and distributing access to trained physicians who can provide expert guidance combined with a comforting bedside manner. This Series A funding will allow us to expand our network of doctors, grow internal infrastructures and focus on fine tuning our simple but proven approach to resolving complex healthcare issues.”