Employees of the international supply chain solutions provider Flex, the first company to sign up for the Compass service, will now be able to enjoy fast, personalised health advice.

HealthTap’s Compass app encourages companies to take greater care of employee health

Palo Alto, California-based ‘connected’ health specialist startup HealthTap has just launched Compass, a health-management platform targeted at employers. The basic aim is to help employees manage their healthcare needs more easily. Founded in 2010, HealthTap initially set out to help US citizens obtain quick answers from medical practitioners, developing an app that provides users with round-the-clock access to health advice. Users can supply photos and medical test results electronically and obtain, from one of HealthTaps’ panel of physicians, information, advice and, if need be, a prescription and/or recommendations to see a specialist. In some cases patients will have a video consultation with a doctor in order to obtain a diagnosis. This system enables people to get fast advice on minor ailments and can direct them to the right healthcare practitioner for their particular needs, without having to waste time sitting in a hospital Accident and Emergency department or waiting for an appointment with their general practitioner. HealthTap’s new Compass service is aimed specifically at companies so that they can offer their employees a convenient way to find the right medical practitioner under their private insurance plan.

Flex signs up for Compass

The first company to sign up for the HealthTap Compass service is Flex (formerly Flextronics). The company’s 200,000 employees worldwide will now be able to obtain personalised health care 24/7, exchange instant messages with physicians and even set up video consultations with one of the 70,000 US-registered doctors who work with HealthTap. The range of services available through their mobile device or desktop computer includes online information, tools designed to check their own health status, reminders to take their medication, and so on. Everything is geared to simplifying access to healthcare. ‟Think about the process; we’ve all done it. You begin work and receive a huge stack of forms to fill out from the HR department. You select some kind of random insurance plan while trying to decipher acronyms like PPO, HMO and EPO. And all you actually want to know is how to get to the right care when you need it, most cost-effectively,” explains HealthTap founder and CEO Ron Gutman on the technology innovation website VentureBeat.

Helping to simplify a highly complex system

To date, HealthTap has raised $38.3 million in capital from various investors. Because the United States healthcare system is extremely complicated, a number of startups have been set up recently with a view to providing services designed to help people through the bureaucratic maze and simplify access to medical care. L’Atelier recently reported on New York City-based Wellthy, which assists the family and friends of older people who are coping with health issues on a daily basis. With Compass, HealthTap is targeting people who have private health insurance. Readers will perhaps already know that in the United States only senior citizens and low-income families enjoy basic national health insurance cover – known as Medicare and Medicaid respectively – funded by tax dollars and social security contributions. Other citizens need to take out private medical insurance but this is a benefit that most companies offer to employees as part of their compensation package. In 2007, two out of three US citizens were covered by private health insurance linked to their jobs.


By Guillaume Renouard