Circle Medical says $14M from WELL Health will enable low-cost telehealth app usage

The SF-based health tech company says its telemedicine platform saw double-digit growth during the pandemic.
By Kat Jercich
10:27 AM

Circle Medical on Wednesday announced that it had received a majority control investment of $14.3 million from the Canadian firm WELL Health Technologies. 

The cash, says the company, will allow Circle and WELL to offer 200 million people in the United States support for the use of Circle's telehealth app either for no cost or a small co-pay. The telehealth platform is currently available for use in 35 states.

Circle representatives say the move will also allow Canadian physicians who are licensed in the applicable states to provide care to patients virtually across the border. Because Circle Medical is affiliated with the University of California, San Francisco, and on contract with most major insurance companies, the representatives said, the company can bill the relevant insurer.

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"We are excited at the prospect of partnering with WELL to help us rapidly scale our telehealth technology and grow market share in the United States," said George Favvas, co-founder and CEO of Circle Medical, in a statement. 

"Given the unprecedented circumstances with the COVID-19 pandemic, we believe now more than ever is the time to innovate and create exceptional healthcare experiences," said Favvas.

WHY IT MATTERS

According to its website, Circle's telehealth platform can be used to treat a variety of conditions, including diabetes, urinary tract infections, high blood pressure and more.

Circle is in network for a variety of major insurers, including Humana, Blue Cross Blue Shield and Aetna. For those without insurance or whose insurance is not accepted, using the telehealth services costs a $100 flat fee. 

Patient languages available include English, Spanish, German, French, Farsi and Mongolian.  

The vendor says that it relies on artificial intelligence to create a better patient experience and that it will use the investment from WELL to continue developing technology.

"This acquisition will provide both U.S. and Canadian residents more access to exceptional healthcare experiences during an unprecedented time where healthcare innovation is more important than ever," said Favvas.

THE LARGER TREND

Despite a dip in recent months, demand for telehealth has skyrocketed overall since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Investors have followed the trend: Last month, telehealth giant Amwell filed to go public, fueled by $100 million from Google's cloud division.

"This is a critical partnership for the healthcare industry and has the potential to dramatically transform the telehealth space through the use of modern cloud technologies," Thomas Kurian, CEO of Google Cloud, said in a statement last month.

ON THE RECORD

"We are thrilled to welcome Circle into the WELL family and know that this will continue to drive healthcare innovation while providing top-tier healthcare experiences to both Canadians and Americans during a time when better healthcare is so desperately needed,” said Hamed Shahbazi, chairman and CEO of WELL, in a statement provided to Healthcare IT News.

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Kat Jercich is senior editor of Healthcare IT News.
Twitter: @kjercich
Healthcare IT News is a HIMSS Media publication.

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