HealthTap, a company that enables patients to get their online medical questions answered by physicians for free, has received financial investments totaling $11.5 million from venture capital firms. Among the investors are Mayfield Fund, Mohr Davidow Ventures, and Eric Schmidt's Innovation Endeavors.
Schmidt, the former CEO and current executive chairman of Google, launched Innovation Endeavors a year and a half ago to fund technology startups.
HealthTap, which calls itself an interactive health network, has grown rapidly in the past year. It now claims that 6,000 physicians and 500 healthcare organizations are participating in its network.
Ron Gutman, president and CEO of HealthTap, told InformationWeek Healthcare that the doctors in the network are not practicing medicine online because their answers to healthcare questions are brief and general and come from multiple providers. However, the replies can be tailored to individual patients, depending on how much information they're willing to provide about themselves and their health conditions.
One reason for physicians to participate is that they receive questions from patients in their local areas, and patients have the option to make appointments with the doctors if they like the information provided.
"Patients and doctors alike have long been frustrated by the one-size-fits-all approach to healthcare and the limited opportunities for finding personally relevant health information online," Rowan Chapman, a partner at Mohr Davidow Ventures, said in a press release. "Ron and his team are successfully addressing the critical need for a source of trusted medical information that allows consumers to interact with doctors online in an efficient and meaningful way. The rapid growth of the HealthTap community coupled with this round of funding is further evidence of the tremendous opportunity at the intersection of web-enabled social networks and more personalized, data-driven healthcare."