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HelloMD, a San Francisco-based startup, disrupted the medical consultation market with its remote recommendation services. The service allows individuals to see doctors on-the-go, using a smartphone or laptop.

To set itself apart from other companies that offer similar services, the brand also expanded its digital healthcare platform. Now, in addition to being a marketplace for prescriptions and relevant medical advice, the business offers info about cannabis and its applications in medicine.

Digital Cannabis Forum

The startup’s entry into medical marijuana was smooth and enlightening. Recently, the company admitted that people started flocking to the site for answers to questions about weed. HelloMD currently has a Q&A service that operates like a forum. Members, medical professionals and businesses can provide insights on questions posted by users. The new feature is attracting a giant crowd of curious cannabis fans. HelloMD’s founder Pamela Hadfield and VP of business development Larry Lister confirmed that the Q&A service is facilitating unforeseen growth within the company. Over 65 percent of the website’s current traffic is organic, mostly from searches, which converts into news sign-ups and registrations.

“We’re seeing 28 percent compound growth rate in registered users,” Hadfield said. “We have 70,000 registered now, and are looking at a goal of one million registered in 12 months time.”

It could’ve easily turned into another spammy site, like Yahoo’s Q&A feature. But fortunately, conversations on the platform are moderated vigilantly, and archives of past chats reveal that people are using the site for its intended purpose. The submissions are filled with links to case studies, revolutionary academic reviews and actionable tips on medical cannabis.

Catering to Senior Citizens

The website is currently serving the top age bracket of cannabis consumers, between 25 and 55. Such individuals are typically concerned about their health; and with work and parental commitments eating up a large bulk of their busy week, most don’t have time to meet face-to-face with a family doctor. By making the Q&A service readily accessible, users can engage the online community during small pockets of free time throughout the day.

It’s no secret that the 55-and-up age group will eventually overtake the adult demographic as top consumers of medical cannabis. According to The Washington Post, senior citizens are persistently looking for viable alternatives to prescription meds. For the digitally-impaired (navigating complex menus can be difficult), HelloMD supports video consultations; and there are several reasons why the service could become an instant hit for the elderly. Individuals don’t have to visit far-flung or congested cannabis clinics for recommendations. Furthermore, patients are paired with knowledgeable doctors who understand the benefits of the plant.

“It’s a confusing marketplace, it’s so hard to find legitimate, trustworthy information,” said Hadfield. “We want to engage [medical marijuana users], and connect them, and become that centralized resource for them. So we thought: What would be the easiest way to connect this community?”

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