By Stephanie Baum
April 9, 2015 7:12 pm – The U.S. has a strong reputation for being a service-oriented society. Even so, it’s interesting to see the rapid growth of concierge care startups counting on the willingness of people prepared to reach into their pockets to speed up the process of getting a doctor’s appointment or a second opinion or specialty care.
The latest example of this trend doesn’t fit the conventional telemedicine model or in-person house calls scheduled through apps. Instead, MORE Health is looking to redefine how we think of medical tourism by adding a high-end dimension to it, starting with China.
Hope Lewis, the CEO, co-founded the company in 2013 with Bo Hu, the CTO. She said in an email that prior to MORE, she was an in-house legal counsel and helped many of her China-based clients to come to US to have cutting-edge treatment. The experience led her to better understand the gaps in healthcare in China and the U.S., the differences in these markets and the opportunities they presented.
The business is designed to help Chinese patients who have the means to get referrals from Chinese physicians who can connect them through the network to U.S. specialists across specialty areas including cardiology, oncology, neurology and pediatrics.
It’s very much a service for China’s growing upper middle class patient population. It charges a $5,000 consultation fee to connect these patients with U.S. doctors and the support system it provides. In an interview with MedCity News, Greg Hanson, MORE Health marketing director, referred to MORE Health as the Seabourn Cruise Line of medical tourism.
The company recently filed a Form D with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission indicating it had raised at least $500,000, but declined to elaborate on the fundraise.
In a statement, Lewis said the company has developed a few apps that are currently in beta. It has also applied for a patent for a Web-based global co-diagnosis system, an electronic health record which allows users to preview more than 2000 medical images in a few seconds.
The multi-lingual co-diagnosis system includes information such as an assessment of the patient’s condition, treatment plan, doctor notes, data from physical exams, lab result documents and images. It also provides an area for doctors to be added to the team treating the patient and another section shows the discussion thread between physicians. Users can also choose to view the record in English or Chinese.
One app is an iPad-version of the global co-diagnosis system. In addition to the image viewer, it allows physicians to enter patient data through the app. A doctor-facing app that’s HIPAA compliant, is designed to notify US and China doctors of treatment updates for the patient and to make communication between the doctors in the two countries easier. A patient-facing app allows MORE health members to carry around their healthcare record and locate hospitals in its network and to access the concierge service.
Hanson said the company uses a combination of human and automated translation so that the test results can be read in English and Chinese to facilitate communication between doctors and the patients and their families.
Medical tourism is nothing new for the likes of prominent U.S. hospitals like the Cleveland Clinic, MD Anderson Cancer Center, or Mayo Clinic and other institutions sought out by non U.S. patients for specialty care. But Hanson points out that the goal of More Health is to make the process more efficient.
“Most companies and hospitals don’t have the bandwidth to do this on their own,” Hanson said. “This is taking medical tourism to a much higher level.”
It works with specialists from University of California San Francisco School of Medicine and Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, which is affiliated with UCSF, Stanford University School of Medicine, California Pacific Medical Center, and University of California, Davis School of Medicine. It will refer its patients to these hospitals when they come to US. The company also has a network of hospitals in China that it is working with directly.
MORE Health’s approach taps into a broader interest within health systems interested in increasing brand awareness in overseas markets. Johns Hopkins, Cleveland Clinic and University of Pittsburgh Medical Center are just some of the institutions that have been actively working to accomplish this.