98point6 raises $43 million to support and optimize its telemedicine options to cater to the increasing number of patients
Fremont, CA: 98point6, a Seattle-based startup, raised $43 million to support and increase the capacity of its virtual healthcare technology amid the COVID-19 outbreak. Since January of this year, the patient volume has increased by 200 percent, of which 40 percent of visits are due to coronavirus related issues over the past three months. The newly raised capital will help 98point6 to maximize its physician total by 3x in the upcoming months.
The five-year-old startup imparts primary care across all 50 states, covering more than three million patients. It connects them in real-time to doctors and specialists through an AI-powered chatbot that works with texts and digital images.
The company proactively added coronavirus screening questions to their app in late January. 98point6 is one of a bevy of health-tech startups that are seeing usage in increased numbers during the pandemic crisis.
The FCC approved a $200 million program to fund telehealth services and devices this week. Telemedicine’s impact is not so much as creating a chatbot that diagnoses the diseases. Still, it is a tool for providing healthcare to all patients virtually, giving the freedom for patients to get treatment while being at home and reducing the spread of infection.
Delivering care via digital channels also has advantages; it keeps the contagious people at home in isolation. This approach also allows non-coronavirus patients to get the care necessary, including the renewal of prescriptions or other services outside of a hospital or clinic without the risk of infection. By utilizing AI to streamline the intake and documentation process of patients, 98point6 aims to reduce healthcare expenses.
A patient dashboard was recently launched by 98point6 to display the wait times from the previous day, among other essential features. The company reports that its aim “is not to replace your primary care provider; rather, 98point6 is another way to access high-quality medical care when you need it — a convenient and complementary partner meant to work alongside your existing care network.”
The latest funding round for 98point6 included contributions from Goldman Sachs’ merchant banking division; BlackRock CEO Larry Fink; Costco co-founder Jim Sinegal; Frazier Healthcare Partners Managing Partner Nader Naini, and Former Goldman Sachs CFO David Viniar.
“The priority for everyone right now is working together to ensure the health and safety of ourselves, our loved ones, and our communities,” CEO and co-founder Robbie Cape said in a statement. “Challenging times like this often bring out the best in all of us, and there is no greater example of that than what we’re seeing from medical professionals and every individual practicing physical distancing to stop the spread. We’re going to get through this, stronger, together.”