- Solv, a startup that connects people to same-day urgent care appointments much like how OpenTable helps people book reservations at restaurants, is going national.
- The hope is that by booking an appointment online with an urgent care center that’s nearby, patients won’t have to spend so long waiting to be seen.
- Solv originally launched in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, but has expanded national by partnering with NextCare, which operates more than 135 urgent care centers around the US.
A startup that works to connect people with same-day urgent care visits is going national.
Solv, which got its start in April 2017 in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, helps book appointments at urgent care centers and also helps patients check in online. On Friday, the company said it’s working with NextCare, one of the nation’s largest urgent care providers, to help patients book appointments at its more than 135 centers.
Solv’s CEO Heather Fernandez, a Trulia veteran, told Business Insider that the purpose of the marketplace is to help people find where they should go for their particular problem, figure out an appointment time that’s convenient, and figure out how much it’s going to cost. It essentially works in the same way that a site like OpenTable can help you make a reservation at a certain time for a set number of people, just with a focus on urgent care appointments instead.
For now, Fernandez said, Solv’s able to show what the cash rate will be for a particular condition and scans in your insurance card. In the future, she said the hope is to get a clearer picture on what patients are responsible to pay with or without insurance.
Solv isn’t the only online marketplace that aims to connect consumers with doctor’s appointments, though it is distinct in its focus on urgent care. ZocDoc, for example, helps people book visits – same day and in the future – with everyone from primary care doctors to eye doctors.
A push for convenient care to be the ‘front door’ of healthcare
Visits to urgent care centers have been on the rise in recent years, leading to more healthcare companies to find ways to provide on-demand healthcare. There are about 7,400 urgent care centers around the US, according to the Urgent Care Association of America, the industry’s trade group.
“One of our early insights was that convenient care has become the front door of healthcare for hundreds of millions of Americans,” Fernandez said.
Instead of going to the same doctor every time and potentially not getting an appointment for a few days or even weeks, Americans have started preferring the convenience of urgent care.
“The convenience factor matters more for some people who just don’t have time,” Bill Gurley, general partner at the venture capital firm Benchmark and investor in Solv, told Business Insider. Benchmark is also invested in OpenTable.
A massive example of this came in December when CVS said it will acquire the health insurer Aetna. The move was a big bet that CVS could become the first place people go when they’re sick. Later that week, UnitedHealth Group announced it was acquiring DaVita’s medical unit, adding 300 clinics to its network of doctors.