San Mateo, California-based digital pharmacy startup Truepill is building upon last year’s funding momentum with the formal launch of two new business lines: one focused on virtual primary care and another offering in-home and in-person diagnostic testing.
The startup said it began piloting the first of these two services last year and is now coordinating 50,000 primary care telehealth visits per week.
Designed for payer and employer customers, the Virtual Primary Care offering provides access to a network of primary care physicians able to take video calls or asynchronous text-based messages around the clock and across all 50 states.
Members or employees using the service can select an individual physician to become their primary care provider for all scheduled visits down the line and can receive referrals or other support from the company’s care coordination teams.
The service is an attempt to capture younger demographics that often don’t have a primary care provider and instead turn to high-cost settings like emergency rooms and urgent care, Truepill co-founder and president Sid Viswanathan said.
“[Eighty percent] of primary care concerns can be diagnosed and managed without an in-person visit,” Viswanathan said in a statement. “With this offering, Truepill is aiming to close the gap by creating a seamless, all-in-one, digital experience for patients to get the care they need on their own terms.”
This week’s other new service launch builds on the in-home diagnostics support Truepill outlined in September’s $75 million funding round announcement.
The company said it has built out a network of certified and accredited labs since then and now supports a catalog of more than 100 at-home tests and thousands of in-person tests. These services are white-labeled for use across various types of healthcare companies, Truepill said, and can be initiated by patients or deployed as part of an organization's COVID-19 wellness program.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has emphasized the immediate need for easy-to-use testing from the home, but there is still huge potential for accessible diagnostics beyond the immediate crisis,” Viswanathan said.
Both of the newly launched offerings are designed to work in tandem with each other, as well as with Truepill’s bread and butter pharmacy fulfillment services and other telehealth capabilities, the company said.
By using its API, Truepill said its customers can provide members, patients or other individuals a full end-to-end service—for instance, a person could have a virtual primary care visit that ends in a testing recommendation, receive the test at home, have a telehealth consultation about the test’s results and then have their prescription filled and delivered within a single platform.
“Combining diagnostic testing with telehealth and prescription delivery unlocks exponential possibilities in digital healthcare, including the diagnosis and management of chronic disease states, more effective care for vulnerable populations, reinvented preventive care and more,” Viswanathan said.
Launched in 2016, Truepill has often partnered with direct-to-consumer startups but has lately signaled an interest in pursuing more traditional healthcare companies.
Its platform-based approach is an attempt to distinguish the company from some of the other digital pharmacies that have gained steam—and investors’ support—in recent years.
Among the latest raises has come from Capsule, which hauled in $300 million last month to support its digital pharmacy and accompanying services including telemedicine and mental health support. Alto Pharmacy also closed a $250 million series D round early in 2020, while Medly Pharmacy and Now Rx brought in $100 million and $30 million, respectively, later in the summer.
Each of these players is pushing forward under the looming specter of Amazon Pharmacy.
Following the online retail giant’s big-ticket purchase of Pillpack back in 2018, the company launched its prescription benefits service last year and unveiled new price comparison features just a few weeks back. TJ Parker, vice president of pharmacy at Amazon and a PillPack veteran, also told press at the time that his company is interested in capturing consumers' growing demand for convenient medication delivery and complementary virtual services.
Amazon also has signaled an interest in expanding into at-home medical tests and launching a third-party marketplace for general home diagnostics services, according to an Insider report.
The tech giant began building out its own in-house COVID-19 testing capacity for its employees and could potentially offer testing kits for COVID-19 and for sexually transmitted diseases with a goal of expanding into areas such as clinical genomics.