Startup Spotlight: Oscar Health direct-to-consumer insurance
Direct-to-consumer health insurance company Oscar offers a technological approach to health insurance.
Based in New York, Oscar’s offering is available in 15 US states and 29 US markets, with 420,000 members using its products.
Oscar’s plans include digital tools such as an app which lets members view health history and speak with a personalised Concierge team. The company says that, compared to its competitors, its mobile app is downloaded five times more compared to the average.
The company also professes its experience with offering telemedicine, with more than 30% of Oscar members having used the technology compared to just 10% of Americans at large.
Since its foundation in 2012, the company has raised $1.5bn acros s nine funding rounds. Its latest round saw the company raise $225mn from new investors Coature Management and Baillie Gifford, alongside previous investors Thrive Capital, Lakestar, Khosla Ventures, General Catalyst and Alphabet.
In a press release, Mario Schlosser, Co-Founder and CEO of Oscar, said: "Transforming the health insurance experience requires the creation of personalized, affordable experiences at scale. At Oscar, we combine our full-stack technology platform and data-driven approach to deliver seamless care that meets members where they are. We have created an experience that feels like you have a doctor in the family. This funding enables us to further accelerate the development of our unique model while creating efficiencies and cost-savings."
As part of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Oscar opened a testing centre locator in the US, as well as emphasising the versatility of telemedicine, with CEO Schlosser saying: "We want our members to go to the doctor if they are feeling sick, and to get tested for COVID-19, if it's recommended. We don't want the cost of the test to be a barrier to patients seeking care. We were the first to offer telemedicine free-of-charge to members and this is a great time for them to use it to find out if testing is right for them or if other follow up care is needed."
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.