The company that brought instant therapy sessions with a qualified psychologist to your smartphone has taken a major step forward by hiring a chief medical officer. Talkspace, with more than one million active users paying to get instant counseling through an app, says the addition of a medical officer will enable the company to begin prescribing medications. Talkspace CEO Oren Frank says the ability to offer prescriptions to the company customer base fills a critical need.
Talkspace was founded by Oren Frank along with his wife Roni Frank in 2012. The app is available for use on smartphones, computer tablets, home computers or any online device. It charges $79 for a weekly chat with a licensed psychologist and $49 for the ability to message a mental health expert. The company has grown rapidly. It surpassed a million regular users in just five years and is generating tens of millions of dollars annually.
Oren Frank said hiring a Chief Medical Officer will also allow Talkspace to build its enterprise business as it ramps up to launch an IPO. Find out more about of Oren Frank at Huffpost.
As for prescribing medicines, Oren Frank said that, as of now, it can only be done through using a video tool that allows direct face-to-face consultation between therapist and patient. State and federal regulations require video conferences for services that involve prescribing medication. It remains uncertain if opioids will be allowed under the conditions of current Talkspace protocols.
Online therapy is a concept whose time has arrived, Oren Frank said. He notes that depression and anxiety among millenials has been on a rapid increase in recent years. That’s precisely the demographic that feels most comfortable with accessing mental health services through a smartphone app.
It’s also significant to note that most Talkspace users stay with the service for months as repeat or ongoing customers, Oren Frank said.