Student Telehealth Startup Hazel Health Raises $33.5 Million

Earlier this month, student telehealth service company Hazel Health raised an additional $33.5 million dollars in funding. Investors in the quickly growing startup include Bain Capital Ventures, The UCSF (University of California San Francisco) Foundation Investment Company, and most notably, Centene Corporation, a large managed care and healthcare organization.

Hazel Health’s goal is to provide on-demand telehealth services to students. For schools, it explains its 4 step model:

  1. “Partnership: Hazel partners with school nurses and health services to expand healthcare services at school.”
  2. “Training: School nurses and staff are provided instruction to initiate appointments with students in need of care. This includes logging on the easy-to-use technology and taking basic vitals.”
  3. “Tools: Hazel provides all needed equipment for care; scale, thermometer, medical cart, iPad with stand, over-the-counter medications and more.”
  4. “Parent Information and Consent: Hazel works with schools to educate parents about the program. Parents decide whether to participate.”

The company also mentions the value of this service: “With Hazel’s early intervention, most common healthcare problems are addressed immediately and the child safely returns to class. Parents don’t get called out of work and kids stay in school […] If the problem does require additional care, Hazel helps facilitate appointments with the Primary Care Physician or the ER.”

As schools and colleges across the country have started opening their doors for learners amidst the coronavirus pandemic, student health has been a growing concern.

Hazel Chief Executive, Josh Golomb, commented to TechCrunch on the impact of Covid-19 on the company: “As soon as COVID happened there was a lot of recognition by districts that we have to have a solution around student health and wellness […] Pre-COVID we went from 300,000 in our network of districts to now, when we just passed 1.5 million. [The] rate of engagement went down but our overall expansion has increased dramatically.” The company also reports a “Hazel at Home” service, likely as a means to cater to the students and families that are choosing to pursue virtual learning opportunities: “When at home, families can connect with Hazel doctors from any device including mobile.”

Indeed, significant concerns regarding how educational institutions will mitigate outbreaks and enforce infection control, especially in close quarters, still remain unresolved. Many institutions have taken expansive efforts to provide virtual learning opportunities in an effort to keep students safe, while others have embraced a “hybrid” learning model. However, given that students have just now started the school year, the real impact of Covid-19 and how it will affect this aspect is yet to be truly seen.

More time and testing is needed to fully understand the reliability, efficacy, safety, privacy, and usability aspects of Hazel Health and the many other telehealth services that have grown exponentially during this pandemic. However, if this relatively new modality of healthcare delivery is perfected with emphasis given to patient safety and privacy, and if the technology is indeed viably scalable for the masses, it may potentially provide significant value to communities and the healthcare system alike.

The content of this article is not implied to be and should not be relied on or substituted for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment by any means, and is not written or intended as such. This content is for information and news purposes only. Consult with a trained medical professional for medical advice.

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