Doctors on Demand: 10 Startups to Watch in 2017

  • 4 October 2017
  • James Njau

Let’s face it; the healthcare sector has been a mess, especially when it comes to the complications involved when finding a good doctor. For business owners and independent contractors, finding affordable care is even more daunting. It’s a nightmare, to say the least! In order to help tackle such problems, a number of startups are emerging, making it easier for people to get a good doctor, identify the best insurance plan and, most importantly, save money on medical bills and prescriptions. Here’s list of 10 startups that promise to disrupt the healthcare industry:

1. Doctor on Demand

In 2012 Adam Jackson founded Doctor on Demand (a San Francisco based startup). With over eighty million USD accumulated in funding and the backing of big-time investors such as Google and famous entrepreneurs such as Richard Branson, this company will give you quick relief from illnesses such as a sore throat, cold flu, sports injuries and much more by simply linking you up to the right doctor online. How does it do this? Well, with its mobile app, you get immediate video chat access to psychologists and doctors. The startup offers a fully integrated laboratory diagnostic that you can use to get health care. It really does feel like an actual visit to the doctor!



All over Silicon Valley and pretty much the entire world, startups are gearing up to disrupt the traditional health insurance plan, and MDLIVE has not been left behind. With its newly designed package for businesses called MDLIVE Prime and a simple app download, people who are under its insurance plan can get access to virtual health services anywhere at any time. Doctors can send a prescription to the nearest pharmacy allowing patients to completely skip the waiting room. Thanks to a pool of certified pediatricians and doctors, MDLIVE can afford to give its users quality medical services that are just as good as traditional health insurance covers. Now that is what we call a real disruptor!


3. Babylon Health

So far Babylon (a London based startup that was founded in 2013 and with an accumulated funding of over $80 million) has received numerous industry awards and great reviews from thousands of users, which is a clear sign of its capability. With its rigorous hiring process, you get access to doctors that are not only certified but also carefully handpicked to give you the best virtual medical attention. This disruptor is changing the medical industry in London thanks to its data-driven AI app that designed by industry professionals to assist with diagnosis and scheduling of appointments depending on a patient's unique health needs. This way the doctors work is made easier and you as the patient can stay on track of your medication.


4. American Well

American Well is a Boston based startup that was founded in 2006 and boasts of a cumulative funding of a whopping $140 million. It is a startup that distinguishes itself as a “SaaS” i.e. software-as-a-service Company. It easily integrates into other platforms to give patients face to face doctor access through live video chats at any time. With American Well, health practitioners can easily work whenever and wherever they want thanks to its services that allow physicians to conduct online sessions with their patients. With a Samsung partnership underway, this health care industry disruptor might just be on its way to your phone through the Samsung health application. So brace yourself!


5. Pager

AI is fuelling up the doctor on demand industry to a whole new level and one startup that is distinguishing itself using AI is a New York-based startup called Pager. Founded in 2014 and with a total funding of about $30 million, this startup is surely set to change the whole industry.

It does this by first putting out a chatbot machine learning app that quickly helps you decide whether it’s necessary to check in with a doctor or not. The next step is to have a video chat with your doctor or even go as far as having the doctor come to you without you leaving the comfort of your house.  Patients who detest waiting in line at the doctor’s office can find relief with this app that makes medical attention more accessible.


6. HealthTap

HealthTap is based in Palo Alto California and was founded in 2010 with an aim of helping people enjoy immediate access to trusted medical advice. This budding startup boasts of a whopping $37.85 million in funding and operates as an online platform that patients use globally to get 24/7 access to doctors and health service providers through video calls, text messages, and voice calls. It works like a QnA platform where public questions are answered by professionals to the benefit of everyone on the platform. Obviously, there is a fee charged for those that want a face to face meets with doctors. Plus with a newly introduced AI doctor that uses deep machine learning to give immediate replies, and over 20,000 lives already saved, this startup is set to revolutionize how patients get medical advice.


7. Sensely

With a five-round funding of over $11million, Sensely (a San Francisco based startup founded in 2013) uses Molly as its virtual nurse. Molly’s work is simple; she operates as an AI machine between doctors and patients, acting as a medium that connects the two. Although Molly is not a human nurse with hair or an accent, she is made up of an intelligent learning algorithm that powers up Sensely’s chatbot. The algorithm works to make sure patients take prescriptions as instructed by the doctor. About 91% of patients have already benefited from Molly’s service which is quite an accomplishment.  Here is how it works: through the platform, doctors are able to improve patient’s satisfaction and with time Molly's learns the process and automatically handles queries from the patients. This leaves the doctors free to do more with other patients. Everybody wins!


8. Spruce Health

Spruce was founded in 2013 and so far has an accumulative funding of $17 million. Thanks to investors such as Google, Kleiner Perkins Caulfield, and others, Spruce Health is slowly becoming the leading platform for communication and health care outside the exam room. This startup is more of a patient-centric service that allows doctor appointments anywhere and at any time through voice and video calls as well as SMS. Doctors, on the other hand, get to have an easier time with a care that is team driven to streamline the whole process which is what most doctors need. 


9. Heal

Dr. Renee Dua who is the founder of Heal wanted an easy solution that gives families affordable access to health care. By bringing the doctor home and helping many people skip long waiting hours in the hospital, Heal has made is way easier for busy parents and their kids to have access to quality healthcare from the comforts of their own home. Given that it’s a platform that lacks overhead, it is able to bring down traditional health care costs, making it work well especially in today’s sharing economy. All you have to do now is a tap on its app and a doctor can make a house call without you having to wait in line.


10. Medicast

With a seed capital of about $14million, this is a Silicon Valley-based startup that enables hospitals to modernize health care delivery beyond the confines of a hospital building. On its platform, patients can schedule virtual doctor visits and also in-house calls thanks to a technology that optimizes and manages schedules effectively to give caregivers time to focus on patients.  Currently, it's the only mobile-first on-demand care delivery system with an easy to use technology designed for both physicians and patients in mind.


About James Njau