After more than a year of retooling its technology platform and business model a San Francisco digital healthcare company is targeting the growing medical marijuana industry in California. And it’s counting on mobile to help create a competitive edge. launched in 2012 as a digital healthcare company with a focus on e-commerce technology and a goal of building a healthcare data information exchange that would link together doctors and patients for digital office visits. But California is already a competitive market for health data and insurance exchanges. In addition to the state’s own health insurance exchange, Covered California, which attracted more than 425,000 California residents during the latest enrollment period ended Jan. 31, big payers such as Anthem Blue Cross also run their own version of an insurance exchange.

Recognizing there was tough competition from other exchanges and digital healthcare data providers, founder and CEO Mark Hadfield began looking for a new niche and digital opportunity and decided on medical marijuana. In October 2014 California became one of the first states to amend its telehealth law to allow for doctors licensed to write their patients recommendations for medical marijuana using secure digital healthcare technology following a digital doctor visit. That means that patients don’t need to step into a doctor’s office.

Hadfield, the former CEO of disaster recovery company nScaled Inc., and the founder of, which sells document collaboration software, learned through his attorney of the forthcoming change in California telehealth law as it pertains to medical marijuana. Hadfield also has personal experience with the legal red tape surrounding medical marijuana, having seen firsthand the difficulty his wife went through in securing medical marijuana to cope with migraine headaches. “For many patients getting medical marijuana in California is not a great or an easy experience,” Hadfield says. “It’s a very tightly regulated and paper-based process.”

In April 2015 after a year of verification and working with the state of California, learning the details of California’s medical marijuana industry and rebuilding its health data exchange platform with digital and mobile integration applications that link together doctors, patients and distributors, Hadfield relaunched


California approved the use of medical marijuana in 1996 but it wasn’t until October that the state passed legislation to regulate the growing and selling of medical marijuana, a $1.3 billion market in California, according to the California Cannabis Industry Association. Today says its data exchange for medical marijuana is growing and becoming increasingly mobile. “Over half of our traffic is mobile,” Hadfield says.

Earlier this month rolled out its first app for iPhone users to book a secure video conference with a doctor licensed to issue a medical marijuana recommendation. “The medical marijuana industry has lacked robust technology solutions to manage patients and compliance, forcing providers and dispensaries to use manual processes and to shuffle a lot of paper,” Hadfield says. “Our new app is tackling a problem that has caused frustration to providers and patients every day, since waiting in line to register and join a dispensary is inconvenient.” has more than 35,000 registered patients on its exchange, the company says. About 25 doctors work with to offer digital office visits and write medical marijuana recommendations. California hosts a statewide network of about 1,500 licensed distributors and has a relationship with about several dozen distributors or delivery networks.

Patients pay an annual membership fee of $49 to use the service. Conditions such as Alzheimer’s, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (sometimes called Lou Gehrig’s disease), anorexia, arthritis, cancer, Crohn’s disease, epilepsy, glaucoma, hepatitis C, HIV/AIDS, Lyme disease, migraine headaches, multiple sclerosis, muscle spasms, severe and chronic pain, severe nausea, seizures and other conditions and others are eligible for approval.


Patients fill out a secure form for the rest of their medical history on, which then stores all medical records. says its digital doctor visits are fully compliant with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, or HIPAA, which ensures patient confidentiality in medical records. Following such a visit, a provider can issue a recommendation or approval for medical marijuana. The patient can then download and print a medical marijuana identification card and doctor letter of recommendation that she can bring to any of California’s licensed network of distributors to get her order filled.

Another option also enables patients to have the order filled electronically and delivered by an affiliated distributor at their home or another designated location. only provides health exchange services for medical marijuana in California because California is the only state that has approved telehealth visits for medical marijuana approval. is actively recruiting soon-to-be retired physicians to its network of licensed doctors to conduct video office visits and write recommendations. does pay the doctors but didn’t release any more details of doctors’ compensation. also is looking to grow its affiliated distributor network which today is primarily based in northern California, which it plans to grow through broader distribution partners such as delivery agencies. In September signed a distribution deal with, a medical marijuana distribution company that claims to serve 26,000 patients, including patients in Los Angeles.

advertisement also has plans to expand nationally by offering its technology platform to physicians and distributors in other states as more states amend their telecommunication laws surrounding medical marijuana, Hadfield says. “This is a ground floor opportunity,” Hadfield says.