Startups

San Francisco-based startup Solv’s path to 3 million same-day patient visits

The company’s technology allows patients to book same-day appointments à la OpenTable, pay for medical bills from their phone using and initiate video calls with doctors using their mobile browser.

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An oft-quoted statistic in healthcare is that it takes an average of 24 days for a patient to get an appointment with a doctor. While that number varies from market to market, the long wait feels largely disconnected from the modern world of nearly instantaneous service.

San Francisco, California-based startup Solv was founded in 2016 to shrink this gap by creating a online platform and directory for “convenient care,” the growing provider segment of urgent care clinics and outpatient centers acting as new front doors for healthcare.

2018 has been a banner year for the company, which has doubled it headcount to 40 employees, launched new payment and telemedicine features and raised $16.8 million in a Series B funding round led by Greylock Partners.

The company’s technology allows patients to book same-day appointments à la OpenTable, pay for medical bills from their phone using and initate video calls with doctors using their mobile browser.

On the other end, providers get better management and visibility into appointments and tools to automate communications with patients. Solv currently operate in 30 states including New York, Washington, Colorado and Arizona.

Recently the company reached the milestone of fulfilling its 3 millionth same day patient visit, claiming to have saved the healthcare system $65 million in diverted emergency room visits in the process.

While the bulk of their client base are made of up smaller urgent care providers, Solv CEO Heather Fernandez said an increasing number of larger health systems have started to engage in conversations with the company as they look to build out more consumer-friendly care delivery options.

Fernandez, a former executive at real estate technology company Trulia, says she sees similar patterns and business pressures emerging in the healthcare as she did in real estate, namely changing consumer expectations and demands, as well as  new entrants to the market pressuring traditional incumbents to get with the times.

Examples include pharmacy chains like CVS Health looking to turn their retail locations into “health hubs” which can offer a range of healthcare services and employers contracting with on-site or near-site clinics for primary care.

“This year has seen a lot of declarations, where a lot of non-standard players in the healthcare industry have put a stake in a ground. It means that traditional players are taking notice,” Fernandez said in an interview.

One potential new customer base for Solv are payer organizations who are financially incentivized to get patients the right care at the right time.

Over the next year Fernandez said the company will be focused on building out their geographic footprint to all 50 states, and expanding into additional category types like OB/GYN, dermatology and physical therapy clinics.

One important point yet to be determined is how these new provider models emerging to fill the demand for convenient care will fit into the larger healthcare system.

Photo: shylendrahoode, Getty Images