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HealthTap wants to provide hospitals with their own ‘operating system’

Doctors Seek Higher Fees From Health InsurersDoctors Seek Higher Fees From Health Insurers

Telemedicine startup HealthTap has built what it calls an ‘operating system’ for hospitals to help them centrally manage everything from patient records to appointments and medication to lab test prescriptions.

Dubbed HOPES, which stands for Health Operating System, HealthTap’s new system aims to replace the patchwork of various software programs and tools—and even old-school methods like paper forms—that most hospitals piece together to manage their business. Instead, HOPES lets hospitals do everything through one system, which also connects officials with HealthTap’s database of doctor-created (and vetted) content, and connect with patients through smartphone applications.

The Waikato District Health Board in New Zealand is among the first hospitals to implement HOPES. The district will use the software to manage its more than 2,500 doctors and healthcare providers, as well as connect with more than 1 million residents in its community.

In the case of communities like the Waikato district, the ability to connect with patients—many of whom live far from the hospital—via smartphones is critical in providing individuals with regular healthcare, the company says. This is right in line with HealthTap’s original business that connected patients with health information and doctors straight from their phones via messages and video chats.

It’s also notable that HealthTap’s new system isn’t used yet by hospitals in the U.S., something that likely stems from the high levels of regulation that goes along with the country’s healthcare industries. Hospitals and healthcare providers also typically take years to switch over to new or different technology, in part, due to their reluctance over learning how to use new tools, much to the frustration of their patients. Another challenge is the lack of interoperability (the ability of different technologies and software to communicate and exchange data) between different vendors’ products. This continues to make it difficult for most software providers to truly provide a universal solution for hospitals.

HealthTap is, of course, far from the first or only company to attempt to unify healthcare management tools. Established companies like Athenahealth (ATHN) and McKesson (MCK) are already providing similar systems for hospitals and clinics, while cloud-based software giants like Salesforce (CRM) are joining the race with their own twist on healthcare software.

Nevertheless, HealthTap could distinguish itself from other companies with its focus on patient tools. Last month, it unveiled Compass, a product for employees at large companies that lets users easily manage their healthcare benefits through an online portal that connects with their employer’s insurance provider. Compass, as does HOPES, includes patient access to HealthTap’s database of health information and its network of more than 71,000 licensed physicians, which provides virtual consultations via desktop or mobile applications.

Founded by Ron Gutman, Sastry Nanduri, and Dr. Geoff Rutledge, HealthTap has raised $35.5 million in funding to date from investors such as Mohr Davidow Ventures, Khosla Ventures, Mayfield Fund, and Asset Management Ventures.

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