How a Baton Rouge telehealth company met COVID testing demands—and looks to vaccines next

few years ago, the notion of chatting with your doctor via videoconference was beginning to take off nationwide. But platforms weren’t perfect yet—and nobody really saw our new COVID reality coming.

Still, start-up entrepreneur Vishal Vasanji saw an opportunity. The founder of Patient Plus urgent care clinics teamed with software developer and LSU professor James Davis to form a company called Relief Telemed.

The venture, tested throughout 2019, was preparing to officially launch by mid-2020. But by March, COVID-19 had turned daily life on its head. “At a certain point, it was clear [the pandemic] wasn’t going away anytime soon,” Vasanji says. “So we went all in.”

He and Davis worked tirelessly, sometimes 20-hour days, expanding the fledgling venture to accommodate a surge in demand for telehealth platforms among doctors, and, as the weeks went by, in widespread COVID testing among employers eager to keep their teams healthy.

As 225 details in a story from its January issue, the company was able to conduct widespread virus testing from LSU all the way to a school district in California, earning millions in revenue—and is looking next to vaccine distribution. Read on for the full story.