Health IT

Startup brings physician-led telemedicine service to college campuses with plans to add behavioral health

As telemedicine gains favor as a useful way to provide affordable access to healthcare, the concept has been expanded from covering rural communities with basic checkups to more specialized areas like dermatology and behavioral health. One startup sees college campuses and universities as ripe for telemedicine.

Devin Schain, the founder and CEO of CampusMD, points out that college campus health centers typically shut at 5 pm during the week and frequently are closed on weekends. The company provides a 24-hour, seven-day a week subscription-based service to students at nonprofit and for-profit institutions. The company provides the service through a contract with HealthNation, a physician-led telemedicine group whose members can provide primary care and diagnose, prescribe and answer health-related questions, as well as refer students for additional treatment.

Users would contact the service through phone or e-mail and be guided through a triage service to describe their symptoms. They would be contacted by a physician in the network within three hours.

Although it is working with four campuses in a pilot program, it sees scope for much more growth. The company plans to work with HealthNation to add wellness programs for preventive approaches to healthcare later this year. It is also expanding into behavioral health with a specialist group in the next quarter. Schain emphasizes that the service should be thought of as a supplement to healthcare and not as health insurance.

Schain’s background has focused on education startups. He launched and later sold a student loan company Education Direct as well as college campus marketing company, On-Campus Marketing to Dominus Capital.

The telemedicine market is not without some large-scale, national competition. AmeriDoc and Teladoc also offer nationwide services but focus more on the employer side. Fonemed uses primarily nurses.

A study by BCC Market Research, a technology market research report publisher in Wellesley, Massachusetts, projected that the telehome market in which users interact with remote healthcare professionals from their own residences will grow to $9.7 billion in 2016 from $3.5 billion in 2011 . With an estimated 20 million students at colleges and universities in the US, and factoring in the subscription price of CampusMD,  Schain calculates the market opportunity at $4 billion.

[College Walk sourced from BigStock Photo]

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