Nurse-1-1 launches to let patients text a nurse for health info


Nurse-1-1 is a new startup that aims to check patients before they visit a doctor or the ER, and by doing that it could not only save them some money, but also make the entire healthcare system that much more efficient.

The startup does this by enabling users to simply text a nurse, who will then be able to help them determine their next steps. Also, the service will also provide users/patients with some basic information about the problem and its severity.

Launched by former RunKeeper co-founder Michael Sheeley, Nurse-1-1 will connect users with physician assistants, nurse practitioners, and registered nurses via chat — which the company claims is already more popular for users than calling.

Ahead of the launch, the texting service was tested with over 1,200 patients and received interest from 190 nurses, who have since joined Nurse-1-1. It’s free to end users if the patient’s provider is signed up on Nurse-1-1. That’s still not the case — though discussions are underway — and in the meantime, the service costs $12.50 per chat. In comparison, video visits generally go for around $49 or have co-pays of around $30 per visit.

“The triage industry is a multi-billion dollar industry. When you call your doctor late at night and get that phone call back, it’s usually a third-party service calling you. They charge $15 per call to these clinics and it’s very low quality,” Sheeley explains. “Our business model is to charge clinics only $12.50 per call… if your provider is on the platform, that money is charged to them, not to [patients].”

In the future, Nurse-1-1 may generate referrals to telemedicine providers, allowing it to earn referral fees, too.

Already, the company found that many of its customers are moms or moms-to-be, asking questions about pregnancy, kid’s ailments, colds, flus, and the like. They are trying to figure out if they should visit an urgent care now, or see a doctor in the morning, for example.

The service is HIPAA-compliant, and works both via the web and through an iOS app. It is available across the U.S. because it’s not actually prescribing or diagnosing. Nurse-1-1 hasn’t raised outside funding, but may look to do a seed round in the near future.