Doctor On Demand is a winner of FierceHealthcare's Fierce 15 awards. See our other honorees here.
In 2012, the television personality Dr. Phil McGraw and his son Jay started dreaming up a way to use technology to improve access to medical and behavioral health care.
What they came up with was a company with a core premise that's deceptively simple: expand access to care by offering instant, affordable access to board-certified physicians.
As technology has advanced and patients have become more aware of telehealth services, the company has grown into an industry leader in an increasingly crowded field.
That platform serves as the backbone for a highly effective and scalable network of providers, who collectively represent one of the company’s other key assets. “We employ our board-certified physicians, licensed psychiatrists, psychologists, therapists and medical experts as full-time employees,” said Ferguson. “That allows us to deliver high-quality care and build sustained, longitudinal relationships with our patients, leading to better outcomes.”
Amid the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, Doctor On Demand experienced 139% growth in its virtual doctor visits compared to 2019. It also more than doubled its coverage to over 100 million people. But while COVID-19 may have accelerated demand for virtual care services, the company points out that more than half of its projected growth in 2020 comes from its Virtual Primary Care offering for health plans and employers.
Fierce Insights from Doctor On Demand CEO Hill Ferguson
What is your best piece of advice for launching a healthcare company that challenges the status quo?
Make sure you understand the incentives and pain points of key industry participants (patients, providers, plans, employers). Solve at least one pain point better than anyone else, and make sure you partner with key industry participants to reach scale.
What is the failure you’ve learned the best lesson from?
MoneyCard Financial. I tried to launch an innovative financial services company at the beginning of the financial crisis in 2008. A product that is ubiquitous now. Timing is everything!
What is the book you recommend to other healthcare leaders?
The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz is an indispensable resource for startup CEOs in any industry.
What is your prediction for how the healthcare industry will change in 2021?
Health plans and employers will double down on virtual care offerings after finally realizing the benefits in 2020.
In light of the national conversation that is happening right now, what advice would you offer to healthcare leaders seeking to make a real impact on problems caused by systemic racism?
Real and lasting change when it comes to systemic racism in healthcare requires those in power to address the problem head on. At Doctor On Demand, I’m proud of the incredibly diverse provider practice we’ve built. The most impactful thing you can do is start to hire and promote people of color. This should happen at all levels, but is especially important at the leadership level to ensure diversity in the room where decisions are being made.