Obtaining a medical marijuana recommendation used to be an
HelloMD is changing the game.
A shift is coming. Patients all over are moving away from harmful and addictive prescription drugs. Instead, they are launching into the world of alternative medicine including medical cannabis. Until recently, one of the most tedious steps in using medical marijuana has been obtaining a recommendation. You had to find the right clinic and find the time to go. Sometimes the clinics can be sketchy and the doctors can seem disinterested. Overall the process was daunting.
You may notice that we have partnered with a new digital healthcare platform called HelloMD. This online consultation service allows our patients the convenience of speaking to a doctor from the comfort of their own home. We love them because HelloMD is genuinely committed to patient success.
We chatted with the HelloMD to find out how they got started and where they’re headed:
When did HelloMD begin focusing on medical cannabis?
We made the pivot into the medical cannabis market in early 2015 — one year ago. It was a natural transition for us. We knew that it would be hard to compete with the large providers if we stayed in the general health domain, and we were pretty sure that they would not follow our pivot into medical cannabis.
How many patients does HelloMD serve?
Our registered community of patients exceeds 40,000 – and growing significantly with no sign of slowing down.
What should patients know about your live on-camera support staff?
Currently, our customer concierge team is located in our San Rafael office. Their role is to greet patients, to make sure that all technical issues are sorted, to answer questions about the overall process, and to provide a smooth hand-off to the doctor.
Who are your patients?
Our target demographic is anyone concerned about their health and wellbeing. Cannabis is becoming widely known and proven as a legitimate alternative to many prescribed pharmaceuticals for conditions that span anxiety through Parkinson’s.
Do you see a lot of patients join HelloMD after trying everything else for their condition?
Many of our patients come to us at the end of their tether. They are concerned about the pharmaceuticals that they are taking and the cumulative toxic effect that they may have, along with the side effects that often also occur (especially from opioids such as Vicodin and Percoset). Many of our patients are skeptical at first, and then after success become outspoken advocates of cannabis. We see that often.
What some of the more common conditions you recommend cannabis for?
The most common conditions are anxiety, stress, chronic pain, and insomnia. We have recently completed a comprehensive survey and analysis of our patients and received over 1400 detailed responses. (The report in its entirety can be viewed and downloaded here).
What do you say to potential patients who are concerned with privacy and protection surrounding medical marijuana recommendations?
HelloMD is a HIPAA-compliant service. This means we meet or exceed all federal requirements for protecting personal health information (PHI) of patients under the Health Insurance Portability Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA).
Information that is received by HelloMD cannot be seen or accessed by anyone — not employers, not the government. This data is accessible by only the doctor and is shared only by the permission of the patient.
The doctors at Hello MD are so helpful! What kind of feedback are you getting from patients?
We routinely receive only high praise from our patients. Our Trustpilot rating (an independent third party ratings provider) reports an impressive 9.98 score (out of 10).
If we get any critique at all it is usually always the same comment: “I didn’t get enough time with your doctor and I feel I could have talked and asked questions for an hour or more”. We would love to offer our patients that amount of time with the doctor, but to do so is not economically viable.
For patients who do need additional support how is HelloMD meeting their recommendation needs?
We have just soft-launched a brand new service called ‘Answers’. HelloMD Answers lets any visitor to our site (patient or otherwise) ask a question about medical cannabis. Questions are published in a public forum and answered by our doctors (based upon their knowledge) also in the same form. Anonymity is preserved.
Overtime, we plan on expanding the service and allowing others to answer (not just doctors) based upon personal experience, etc. Think Quora – but specifically for the therapeutic cannabis community. While brand new (we turned on this service only this week), we are excited about ‘Answers’ and what it could do to educate a much larger population nationally (even internationally) and how it might bring the conversation that much closer to the mainstream.