WellnessFX Introduces the Almost Entirely Online Annual Checkup
Concierge-style medicine can be practiced in a number of ways through a variety of payment structures. Some elements of technology are usually involved, but in the case of WellnessFX, technology isn’t just a component. It’s the basis for the company’s entire model of delivering care.
Many would argue that WellnessFX is solely a tech company and not a care provider. But with its newest product launch, the company is beginning to blur that line, if it hadn’t already. WellnessFX just announced a relatively low cost annual checkup, called the e-Checkup, to be carried out almost exclusively online. The only in-person interaction the process requires is a blood draw at a local lab.
In a nutshell it starts when a user creates an online account, providing 45 data points about himself. For $49, an in-state physician can order the patient a 25 biomarker panel, which includes most of the diagnostics provided during a typical annual checkup. The results are delivered to the patient through a graphical user interface online. From there the user decides whether or not to follow up with a physician via telehealth for an additional $70.
Based on what he knows of his current users, WellnessFX CEO Jim Kean described what kind of patient would want to have an annual checkup performed this way. “They’re an interesting bunch. They tend to be maybe the upward third of the population from an education and an income standpoint. They’re profoundly busy. Most of them have blown off their annual physical for years. They generally don’t have a relationship with a doctor,” he said.
This new e-Checkup represents an effort by the company to broaden the scope of its user demographics. The hope is to not only attract the busy, wealthier, quantified self-type, but to also attract the busy, everyday patient who needs a checkup-type.
Since the company started out three years ago, it has been finding ways to steadily lower the price of its offerings. In the beginning a user could order a 160 biomarker panel with an hour of telehealth time. Kean said that through negotiations with labs, WellnessFX was able to offer a package with half the number of biomarkers for half of the price. The company continued to offer smaller packages until its flagship product cost $199.
Not surprisingly WellnessFX has spent much of its existence learning the numerous legal rules of the road.
“I would say that we have probably spent a couple million dollars of our venture funding over the last couple of years just on figuring out the regulatory barriers on a state by state basis,” Kean said.
Practitioners are generally not permitted to practice medicine across state lines, so the company set up individual provider networks in each state where its services are available. Currently, patients in more than 20 states can use WellnessFX, but Kean said he hopes that number will grow to 47 by the end of this quarter.
The WellnessFX e-Checkup is labeled an annual checkup, but the company expects that some people will want to use it more than once a year. After all the company’s original fanbase consists of those who have made a hobby out of tracking their biomarkers, either out of necessity or out of plain curiosity. Kean’s idea is that users will establish a baseline with the results from their e-Checkup. Then they can self-experiment — say by taking omega-3 supplements, or cutting out coffee, or getting more sleep — and then pay about $50 to quantify the impact.