As I continue to whore myself out to various telemedicine companies I came across a new telemedicine company, Oscar, which is the only telemedicine startup company serving as both the insurer and a telehealth provider.
My friend, Dr. H., works with them and she recommended this company to me a while back but I was too busy to follow-up with them. She particularly liked their text messaging technology which I’ve been excited to try out. In this post I’ll talk about my interview experience with them since they just emailed me and welcomed me on board.
About This Company
They actually started in 2013 as a tech startup trying to fuse 3 very lucrative models:
Since this company is a startup there is still a lot of juicy data that’s public and so it’s worth reading it for those curious how such a big-boy comes about.
On Angel.co you can read about this company and how they started out with a $40M initial investment in 2013 and then made their Series A, B, and C rounds.
At a current valuation of $1.5B you can imagine that the initial VC investors are going to be well rewarded for their investment. It’s hard to say which direction they will go, whether they’ll go public as did Teladoc or if they’ll remain private and buy up physical offices .
They are expanding to various markets and are currently in a handful of states. They have a team of 25 physician and have recently brought in their first 2 NP’s which is exciting – I enjoy seeing startups making effective use of APC’s.
They are also the first large telehealth company which is offering both telephone services as well as text-based communication with patients. The latter is used for simple things such as medications refills and general medical questions.
The only other mainstream company which is using text-based communication is JustAnswer and they have really cornered that market. They have stayed away from the medical scene and keep their interactions anonymous so that no patient-doctor relationship is established which I think is intelligent on their part.
The Job Application
Startups don’t care if there is a job listing, they will hire you if you can bring value to their company. Don’t hesitate to send your resume over to a startup company if you believe you can offer them more than what they pay you.
This will be the 3rd startup telemedicine company that I’ve worked with. It was a blast working with Remedy and I learned so much. I am also serving as the Regional Medical Director for another company which I’ll discuss in the future as this role evolves.
I found the job by looking through their website and came across their job listing.
The Interview Process
It seems that this company has their physicians go through 2 interviews with 2 different physician leaders. In my case both of these were physicians who had been with the company for a couple of years and based on the East Coast.
The scheduler asked me to fill out a 2-week block of free time to schedule my first interview.
I enjoyed talking to this first doctor because he definitely seemed to be passionate about telehealth but not deluded. We had a great conversation about telemedicine and how it has evolved recently.
He works full-time as a physician for this company and manages an interesting niche with that company on the insurance side.
He asked me a little about my clinical experience and telemedicine experience and jumped right into a sample case – fun.
“I’m 50 years old and would like a Z-pack for this cough I’ve had for 3 days. I’ve tried robitussin which hasn’t helped too much. My doc usually gives me a Z-pack.”
So I went through his symptoms and ruled out a possible PNA or other medical problems which could contribute to a cough. We talked about viral versus bacterial and the side effects of a macrolide antibiotic and if he would be open to trying something else OTC or be willing to try a prescription cough medication such as benzonatate.
Fortunately the sample case ended with the patient agreeing to it which is rarely the case – but hey, yay for me.
Once the 1st interview went well I was contacted by the recruiter that I was clear to have a 2nd interview. I had to once again indicate my availabilities online.
This was another passionate doctor who works full-time for this company and she even remembered interviewing my friend who referred me – that as a nice touch.
She moved from Family Medicine to doing this full-time and loves it. She is in a medical director role and shared a lot about the direction of the business which was exciting.
This company’s approach to addressing patient needs with a concierge model is pretty smart. Most patients can have their medical needs met through a check-in with a physician and that might be where this company is saving on health delivery costs.
She shared with me how effective their concierge team is, not just trying to kiss patient-ass but actually getting patients plugged in, following up with them after the ER, and making sure they have easy access to a medical professional.
This company will pay for my medical license in other states once I start working for them even if it’s as a per diem. That’s a big bonus. They must have a high physician retention.
I explored future work opportunities with both interviewers and was told that they don’t hire any part-timers or full-timers but will bring in good per diem candidates on full-time if the right opportunity arises.
They are a startup and so they will move a competent physician up the ranks quickly.
This company seems to be split down the middle on the health delivery side and the insurance side and both can have physician opportunities. We discussed some options for the future but for now I’m interested to see what it’s like working for them.
Theydon’t pay per patient but per hour. They are going to be rolling out a volume-based payment model as well for those physicians who are interested in that.
I don’t know what the hourly compensation rate is and didn’t ask. I’m not doing this for the income at this time, more for the career opportunities if something exciting becomes available and if it is a healthy company to work for.
They collected $14M in revenue in California in 2017 and had $15M of expenses. Even though that’s a loss, it’s fairly solid numbers to throw down in the first year in a new market.
As for getting paid, it’s every 2 weeks. For now I have to report my own hours apparently but they are switching to a more automated model soon.
The next step for me is credentialing.
I might be able to expedite the process since Teladoc was handling the credentialing for them up until now.
If you haven’t applied for a telemedicine gig, the credentialing process is pretty extensive – definitely something to be prepared for. Fortunately the staff is very helpful and digital signatures are accepted by most companies.