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My HealthTap Virtual Practice Experience

Review Of HealthTap For A Virtual Practice

I paid $3,588 to HealthTap in January of this year (2017) to start my own practice. I chose them because they had the least expensive entry cost and handled various aspects of a virtual practice such as insurance billing, digitally connecting to pharmacies for prescribing medications, creating follow ups and chart management.

The overall experience has been sub-par so I thought I would track my experience here for others who might want to try something similar in the future.

The HealthTap Model

Their concept is to bring patients and doctors on one massive website and hope to convince physicians to sign up for their concierge service which includes the $3,588 buy-in price mentioned above.

Patients are brought to the website when searching health related topics online. Physicians who pay the price for the concierge service can then petition patients to have a virtual visit with them to discuss their medical issues.

The concierge service is primarily geared towards those physicians who already have their own private brick and mortar clinics and want to add a virtual component.

There are only a few doctors who successfully run a standalone virtual practice on HealthTap, from what I have been told.

 

The Concierge Model

Once you sign up by paying the $3,588 fee you are connected with an account representative who will help setup your practice. They will help you with marketing and build your presence online to drive more patients to your practice.

You will have access to a telephone or video visit model and all documentation can be done on the website or through the phone app. It definitely appears quite streamlined on a superficial glance.

Medications can be digitally transmitted to the pharmacy and you can order labs/imaging and even refer to specialty colleagues.

There is no ongoing out of pocket expense. Instead, for every patient interaction, there is a $11 charge in order to cover malpractice insurance and ongoing support.

The fees are very straightforward and the company doesn’t try to nickel and dime you, which is very commendable.

Your profile takes center stage once you sign up for the concierge service. If nothing else, patients will see your name advertised to them based on their locale.

 

My income so far

I have had my virtual practice live for 3 months. My marketing has been minimal because I have been running into too many technical issues with the app.

I have made around $250 so far seeing patients. This is the income left over after HT takes out their fees ($11/visit) and their payment service takes out their fees (~$1).

 

My expenses so far

Besides the concierge fee of $3,588, I have spent $200 to build my own website and purchase some hosting etc.

These costs were inevitable since I have been planning to build up my own “brand” for some time.

My biggest expense has been my time. I have spent many hours trying to build up my presence on the HealthTap website and of course dealing with support to resolve technical issues.

 

What Has Worked With HealthTap

Their model is great, bringing patients and doctors to one area and then connecting them as buyers and sellers. It’s done in a professional manner. There are many layers of brilliant marketing on HealtTap.

Their website is very well designed and they do an incredible job of advertising. There are a lot of ways to get recognized as a physician on their site and the number of patients who end up there is quite impressive.

Getting and income of somewhere around $30 per patient visit isn’t hard to do. These are often done through their “in-basket consult” which are easy and quit text communication with the patient. These aren’t time intensive and fairly straight forward.

 

How HealthTap Has Failed

It’s easy to appear incompetent to a patient if any part of the visit doesn’t match the standards of care.

In medicine, no matter how intelligent and thorough I might be as a clinician, it takes one hiccup and the patient will have a poor impression of me as a doctor.

The software is the biggest problem with HealthTap, the second being support. I have had issues finding the right diagnosis, ordering the correct tests. Sending medications to the pharmacy has failed me more times than it has worked.

Sending Scripts – Failed

After I see the patient I send the script to the pharmacy and need to close the chart in order for the script to get sent. Upton closing the chart there is no way for me to connect with the patient any longer.

If and when the app fails to send the script to the pharmacy I find out about it through support and I need to call the pharmacy to correct the problem.

Ordering tests – failed

I wanted to order a urine gonorrhea test and couldn’t find it on their drop-down menu and therefore couldn’t order it.

I contacted support who agreed (thank you) that a urine gonorrhea test should be available and that they would look into it and get back to me. Nobody ever got back to me.

Entering Diagnosis – Failed

Some of the simplest diagnosis such as a URI or ankle sprain or folliculitis are either impossible to find or not available in the diagnosis drop-down menu.

 

HealthTap For Your Virtual Practice

When we are unable to interact with a patient in person it’s that much more important to appear competent. Even more so when you’re someone who doesn’t give out pain meds and antibiotics lightly – your patients need to be able to trust you.

With an infrastructure that keeps failing and with unreliable features HealthTap makes you look incompetent and it gives the patient the impression that they are dealing with a physician who can’t even send a script to the pharmacy properly.

A patient visit which earns you $30 that requires multiple emails back and forth with support, a call to the pharmacy and then a follow-up with the patient isn’t worth the time or money.

I sent HealthTap an email a week ago because I thought it would be in both our best interests to end the relationship. I offered them thorough and helpful feedback on everything that wasn’t working with their software and requested a return of my concierge fees.

I sent that email to the CMO and also cc’d my personal account assistant. Neither of them have gotten back to me. At this point I have written off the $3,588 which I invested into this practice.

I sent a 2nd email before writing this post and again, no response.

The money isn’t lost since it’s something I will be deducting from my income for 2017 as a business expense. Furthermore, it has been a great experience of dealing with a virtual company and practicing my marketing strategies.

 

What I have Learned

I had the option of working with HT on a month-to-month basis instead of paying the $3,588 up front. But for paying for the whole year up front I was offered a few benefits such as the personal account assistant.

I learned that in a virtual practice your expertise as a physician is highly dependent on how reliable your “office” is. In this case, the office is the software and the support that the patient deals with.

I learned that when choosing a virtual practice software it’s important to have fewer gimmicks and better support. If there is a pharmacy support person who can handle pharmacy issues it will greatly reduce the amount of work I have to put in correcting and problems.

I learned that it’s important to draw up contracts even when buying into a virtual practice. The contract should state all my expectations up front in order to provide a more realistic expectation for both parties.

I learned that a virtual practice is a fantastic way for me to make a decent income with very little work. Most interactions require little in terms of making a diagnosis and mostly involve dealing with patients who just need a bridge in their healthcare journey.

I learned that any company which I choose to do business with is only as good as their integrity. Fancy websites, vibrant colors and a ton of marketing emails only make for a good show. The company I choose should demonstrate that they can recognize problems, take responsibility, remedy the situation and anticipate future problems.

**On 5/6/2017 there was a refund of $2,915.25 in my account. No email explaining why, no explanation how the number was obtained. This is approximately 80% of the money I paid to them.

10 replies on “My HealthTap Virtual Practice Experience”

Thanks for the thorough reporting on HealthTap. They’re going to have to improve their performance or physicians will drop their services.

It’s tough competition with the virtual scene. With all the plugins created by 3rd party software companies, having a glitchy platform is not excusable. And though there will always be connection errors and timeouts etc, a proper support staff can easily fix those problems. AmWell is a great example where any issues are immediately resolved by backend support instead of having the physician trying to chase down a solution

Have you looked into ROWEDOCS? A much more physician-friendly platform, if you want to have another go at it…

It looks well designed. If I ever decide to dive into this space again I would use Vsee after all my research. It’s only $300/month versus the $500/month for ROWE and I have connected with the CEO who really is dedicated to what Vsee can do. Their engineers are all in-house which means that they can make any customization necessary to Vsee. But thank you for the suggestion, perhaps this will be a useful platform for some of my readers.

Hi doc.
From your experience which is the best tele medicine platform for physicians to make a living without doing any other jobs or something?

It’s best to be on multiple platforms with multiple state medical licenses. I’ve posted my income on the various platforms, that’s a good place to start.

teladoc
doctor on demand
roman
mdlive
american well
nurx
lemonaid

Great work dr.
I have a query.
You have stated in one of you article that you earned 2788 dollars in one day on teledoc by working 13 hours.
1) Is that income sustainable ?
2)Can all primart care physicians make that much (by being liscenced in three states you mentioned) or were you just lucky?
3)Your reply would be greatly appreciated?

Gracias.
Income is very sustainable if you know what you’re doing. As in, it’s important that you follow the same workflow for each and every patient.
When you perform in the highest percentiles it’s never about luck, it’s always about having a system. I outlined the process in detail in my telemedicine course. During the cold and flu seasons and especially with this covid business it should be even easier to earn that money.
All primary care docs and other clinicians should be able to see those kinds of volumes.

Hello doc.
You are doing a great work.
Just one question please.
Which is the most high volume state to be lisenced in and work on teleoc to make a good income (over 250k)?

1. teladoc
2. doctor on demand
3. roman
4. american well
5. mdlive
6. oscar

Your income isn’t determined by the volume the telemedicine company has but how many patients you can see per hour, that’s because most of the direct to consumer telemedicine companies have more than enough patients to see. The doctors are seeing around 4-5 patients an hours so it’s hard to get to 250k/year if you’re seeing less patients online than in person.

My telemedicine course should help you if your volumes are low. You should be seeing 10-12 an hour, in my opinion.

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