If you ask SteadyMD CEO and co-founder Guy Friedman, he’ll tell you he believes his company provides the best job in the country for a primary care doctor — a claim he backs by pointing to the hundreds of applications from doctors that come into his office every month.
The Missouri-based telemedicine company, founded in 2016 and headquartered in St. Louis, recently announced it secured $6 million in a Series A round of funding, specifically for expansion of the subscription-based service.
“I think in terms of expansion plans directly, we are basically a technology and health care provider, so our mission is to provide online doctors to anyone in the world who wants one,” Friedman said. “. . . All of our investment will be in technology and staff to maintain that goal.”
How does it work? A patient signs up and uses the company’s proprietary matching quiz and matching engine to find the right doctor. Once matched, the patient and doctor conduct an in-depth, one-hour video call to establish care and record the individual’s heath history.
From then on, the patient is able to chat with that doctor and build a long-term relationship without ever having to leave home or meet the physician in person.
“Having a relationship with a physician that knows you — we are probably the best platform for that in the world,” Friedman said.
If and when a patient needs in-person care, the company has a staff of medical assistants to coordinate such things as X-rays and specialist appointments, he noted. Meanwhile, the patient’s primary SteadyMD doctor monitors reports, test results, treatment plans and other medical information.
SteadyMD intends to reinvent the telemedicine field, Friedman said. Based on its performance in the recent round of funding, investors appear to be on board with that intent.
“We’re a whole new paradigm shift and a whole new idea . . . That’s rather exciting for investors,” the CEO said. “. . . I think we are going to be a new category in health care.”
Friedman said this isn’t his first startup rodeo, noting that with time and experience people develop a discipline in making business decisions. He said he believes that makes his company an attractive option for investors.
“I’ve experienced running startups, and so did my co-founder [COO Yarone Goren],” Friedman said. “It’s a methodical discipline around iterating and operating around the data projected to you as a startup. So if you’re getting signals from the market that X or Y is working, you have to be really disciplined in following those signals and building the business step by step. All those little steps add up to big progress as you grow.”
In response to the coronavirus pandemic, SteadyMD is seeing an uptick in new subscribers, said Friedman, who envisions the company becoming a critical resource during future mass health emergencies.
SteadyMD also is offering the subscription service free to medical professionals on the frontline of the coronavirus fight because, as Friedman noted, everyone needs medical care.
“You can imagine the current [health care] system is really built for phone calls and in-person visits. [With a] chat platform like ours, when the doctor knows who you are, the patient can say ‘I’m coughing again, and it’s the second day.’ The doctor can treat them asynchronously over time,” he said. “Especially at a time like this when the systems are overloaded and the hospitals are overwhelmed, in that regard, we are a very efficient way to communicate.”