Ro: the startup’s technological approach to telehealth
Ro is a New York-based healthcare technology company operating in areas from telemedicine to remote diagnosis.
The company has three digital health clinics, one for women’s health, one for men’s health and one for stopping smoking. It also operates an online, cash-pay pharmacy and a weight management aid.
The company says it has seen more than five million digital healthcare visits, with all its services requiring no insurance.
Since its foundation in 2017, the company has raised across four funding rounds. Its latest Series C round, announced just yesterday, saw the company in funding from lead investor General Catalyst, alongside Torch Capital, TQ Ventures, TCG, SignalFire, Initialized Capital FirstMark, BoxGroup and 3L Capital.
In a press release, Zachariah Reitano, Co-Founder & CEO of Ro, said: “Every single person deserves high-quality, affordable healthcare. At Ro, we believe the only way to do this is by putting patients at the center of their care and building technology to empower providers to do what they do best — help people. This new investment will further our mission to become every patient’s first call. We’ll continue to invest in our vertically-integrated healthcare ecosystem, from our Collaborative Care Center to our national pharmacy operating system. This is just the beginning of Ro’s patient-centered healthcare platform.”
The company said it would use the funds to further build its technology portfolio, including offering remote patient monitoring from integrated devices, and double the size of its engineering team.
Dr. Joycelyn Elders, MD, Ro Medical Advisor and Former US Surgeon General, said: “Telehealth companies like Ro are using technology to address long-standing healthcare disparities that have been exacerbated by Covid-19. By empowering providers to leverage their skills as efficiently and effectively as possible, Ro delivers affordable, high-quality care regardless of a patient’s location, insurance status, or physical access to physicians and pharmacies.”
Zoom enters the healthcare market - a timeline
Since the pandemic began Zoom has become an integral part of daily life for people working from home, as well as a vital tool for families and friends to communicate. However it's also been eyeing up the healthcare space since 2017, and following the boom in telehealth the company has been rolling out additional services. Here we chart Zoom's move into healthcare.
2011 - 2013
Zoom is founded in San Jose, California, by Eric Yuan, formerly of Cisco. He got the idea to create a video calling platform from his visits to his girlfriend while he was a student, which would take 10 hours by train.
A beta version is released in 2012, which can host up to 15 participants. In 2013 this rises to 25. By mid-2013, Zoom has 1 million users.
2014 - 2017
Zoom attracts investors, including Sequoia Capital, Emergence and Horizon Ventures. By January 2017, Zoom has a series D funding worth $100 million.
2017 - 2019
Zoom for Telehealth launches, including an integration with EHR system Epic. It has cloud-based video, audio, and content sharing features, a "waiting room" for patients, and can easily be integrated into healthcare provider's workflows.
In 2019 Zoom goes public, with its IPO rising 72% in one day.
As a result of the pandemic, Zoom gains 2.2 million new users, more than in the whole of 2019. On the 23rd of March alone - the day the UK lockdown was announced - the platform was downloaded 2.13 million times around the world.
Share prices rise to around $150, and founder and chief executive Eric Yuan becomes one of the world's richest people, with an estimated net worth of $7.9 billion.
Early security issues are addressed by encrypting data with the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES). By now the the platform allows 99 people to be on a call simultaneously
New features launch, including Zoom Home and Zoom for Chats. Throughout the year the platform is used to replace most kinds of real life events: work meetings, online classrooms, church services and social events.
Renamed Zoom for Healthcare, users can share secured video, audio, and content through desktops, mobile phones, and conference devices. As well as Epic, it can be integrated with Strmr, IntakeQ, and Practice Better.
It can also be used with diagnostic cameras and other point-of-care devices, including digital stethoscopes.
In an interview with Korea Biomedical Review, Zoom Global Healthcare Lead Ron Emerson said: "Our service is not simply a virtual care and telemedicine platform but a multi-purpose platform that can satisfy the needs of healthcare institutions."
"It can be used for administrative tasks, including telemedicine, medical team meetings, recruitment, medical education, employee training, and disease prevention. Analysing electronic records managed by Zoom could provide meaningful insights into patient care."
Phoenix Children's Hospital, Belfast's Hospital Services Limited, Butler Health Services and the global Project ECHO are among Zoom for Healthcare's current customers.