My co-founder Daniele Farnedi and I first met at the real estate company, Trulia, where we joined the early team in 2006. It’s hard to imagine given the world we enjoy today, but ten years ago, home buying and selling was incredibly opaque. Buyers would physically go to their realtor’s office to get a print out of the weekend’s open houses and agents would draw big red circles around the listings that they thought you should visit.
Today, thanks to companies like Trulia, Zillow, and others, we all know how drastically that process has changed: you open up your phone to surface nearby listings that match your criteria and you tell your realtor which homes you want to visit. And it hasn’t just been real estate that’s been transformed. In that same time, we’ve seen a shift in the way consumers experience every other industry from transportation, travel, dining, and more — all thanks to technology enabling incredible convenience and transparency, all from your phone.
It’s shocking when you think about it: we spend more $3,200,000,000,000 a year on healthcare, or nearly a fifth of our GDP. And despite the many life-changing medical innovations — from new drugs and devices to surgical procedures — it’s still the actual experience of consuming healthcare that has not changed. Frustrations, like long wait times and paperwork, layer on top of an underlying anxiety around whether you are covered and how much it will cost versus where the focus should be: on resolving your health concern. Simply put, it remains hard to end up at the right place at the right time.
There are many reasons as to why, but one of the biggest is that we simply don’t act like consumers of healthcare. 23andMe founder Anne Wojcicki described it well, using the car buying experience as an analogy. You research online, you likely visit numerous dealers and test drive multiple cars, you find your favorite make, model, color and you go back and forth on price to negotiate a deal that’s within your budget. Now what if you purchased a car the same way you would if visiting the doctor? You would wait two weeks to get into a dealership (if they’re accepting new car buyers) and say that you’d like to find a way to get around. In turn, they hand you a key to a car, you get in, smile, and drive away. There’s no discussion of budget or features; and by the way, they’ll also tell you how much it costs thirty days later.
There is an inherent inaccessibility and widespread confusion to healthcare in America, never more so than when the unexpected strikes, and we accept it as the norm. According to research, we wait on average 24 days just to book a new doctor’s appointment. And at the same time, we are paying more and more for our healthcare out of our own pocket (nearly four of ten non-elderly adults are now in a high deductible health plan). But recently, there has been significant growth in consumer-first providers ready to address the most common health concerns. Finally, the supply is starting to catch up.
We started Solv because we wanted to make it easy to see a doctor for everyday health issues — concerns like colds and sore throats, cuts and sprains, stomach aches, and rashes — the things that impact, well, pretty much everyone. We’re doing that by starting with two things that hundreds of millions of people are already using: a smartphone and urgent care.
Solv is a mobile-friendly service that lets you find and book a same day doctor’s appointment at an urgent care clinic near you and skip the wait. Our technology can also check to see if your insurance is accepted, or if you’re paying out-of-pocket, see cash prices and eliminate any surprises once you get there.
We’re able to deliver this consumer first experience by providing clinics with back-end software that enables them to improve the patient experience end-to-end, from managing appointments and eliminating the wait room experience, to streamlining operations and receiving real time feedback from customers to improve service.
We chose to focus on same day care not only because it is one of the fastest growing and, by definition, most accessible segments of healthcare — with over 150 million visits a year to urgent care clinics alone — but also because this is what consumers want: on-demand, convenient, and affordable healthcare. Recent research has shown that half of millennials don’t even have a relationship with a primary care physician and that fifty-nine percent would prefer to visit an urgent care or retail clinic versus a primary care physician. Much like using a smartphone to book a restaurant reservation or hail a car ride, seventy-one percent would also use an app to manage their healthcare.
After operating Solv in a private beta for the last six months — where we built, tested, and iterated our product with urgent care providers and tens of thousands of patients — we have already had a measurable impact on how consumers access healthcare, as well as better supporting the providers taking care of them:
- 80% of Solv users are sitting in front of a provider two hours from booking
- Solv users experience up to 50% shorter wait times than walk-ins
- 30% of bookings happen outside office hours (because let’s be honest, as a Mom of three, I know that kids only get sick after 6pm, on the weekends, or 3 am the day you are announcing your company — true story)
Starting today, I’m thrilled to share that we’re opening up our service to even more users and providers in Dallas Fort Worth, Texas and plan to expand to additional cities throughout the rest of the year. Simply visit solvhealth.com on any mobile device or desktop to book an appointment, or if you’re a provider, learn more about how you can sign up.
We are also excited to announce our investors including our Series A lead, Bill Gurley of Benchmark Capital, with participation from Theresia Gouw of Aspect Ventures and Malay Gandhi of Ensemble Labs, formerly CEO of Rock Health, all of whom share our convictions and have supported us as we’ve developed our company.
Last but certainly not least, I am so grateful to our small but mighty team who has joined Daniele and me on this mission.
Like us, they believe that when it comes to healthcare for ourselves and our loved ones, that we should all expect more. For the better part of a year, they have laid the foundation — from building a technology platform from the ground-up, to engaging and learning from our user and provider community, and even more — to make that expectation a reality. Empowered consumers are compelling agents of change; we’ve seen it before as industries of all shapes and sizes adjust their product specs, their policies, their delivery schedules, the waste they produce, and even the makeup of their boards, all based on consumer demand. Healthcare is next, and it starts with enabling convenience.
If that sounds like something you want to be a part of drop us a note; we’re hiring!