The need for online dermatology
Skin conditions represent a major need in the health market, comprising the single biggest group of presenting complaints to all doctors in primary care. They account for around 5% of total medical expenses to health insurers in the United Kingdom.
Remote and digital healthcare having accelerated rapidly during the pandemic, patients now expect to get their skin doctoring online. Strangely, online doctors aren’t there in any great number yet.
They should be. Waiting for in-person consultations takes many weeks. Going to a bricks-and-mortar clinic means expensive travel, and time away from work. And clinics are great places to pick up infections. Tele-dermatology is just the tool to address all these problems.
And it is arriving. Snapmed, a dedicated digital-dermatology service, sees patients entirely online. We do it by photographic consultation or by interactive video, whichever patients prefer. We diagnose and prescribe with no waiting lines at all, no need for travel, and without any worry over errant viruses.
What’s more, we offer it through insurance partners, like Storebrand, a leading player in the growing Nordic market for health insurance. They specialise in prompt, focussed intervention in specialty areas as diverse as cardiac and cancer care, psychology, physiotherapy, and now dermatology. They find that quick inception and low running costs assure long-term savings, a boon for worried cost-managers.
Snapmed, having treated more than 5,000 patients in Norway and Sweden (and open for business now in the UK), is a natural partner for companies like Storebrand. 90% of what our digital dermatologists see resolves completely after online treatment. Patient feedback, as one would expect, is glowing.
Easy and practical
From an IT standpoint, online dermatology is not daunting. Storebrand users access the Snapmed service through the Bli Frisk app and portal. Most people choose photo consults over video (that too helps keep costs down). They get their answers and prescriptions in less (usually a lot less) than 24 hours.
Is tele-dermatology an insta-cure for everything? Of course not. Long-term management of complex cases is not appropriate for an online service, nor is cancer treatment. But most things aren’t either of those. On average, a Snapmed case requires 1.4 visits to resolve. (Follow-up visits are discounted, to encourage care compliance.) 70% of cases resolve in a single consultation. Only 10% ever need to be sent to face-to-face doctors.
What you could expect if you added digital dermatology
Telederm certainly works for Storebrand. Would it work for you? Let’s consider an imaginary case, a moderately-sized insurer in the UK. Consider a membership pool of 1 million people. It’s reasonable to expect from that
1,250 – 1,650 dermatology referrals per month. The current cost per traditional in-person consultation is around £170, and perhaps £120 for follow-up visit.
Snapmed’s average cost per consultation is about half of this, and with the current case mix and typical consultations per case, if 90% of your cases are treated online, you can expect an annual cost savings of £1.43m – £1.88m.
These are typical numbers. Digital dermatology with any insurer is certainly good medicine, and it’s turning out undeniably to be good business.
Your members already expect to get prompt, intelligent care delivered digitally. Get in touch, with Ben Hulme (Ben@snapmed.co) or Duncan Fisher (Duncan@snapmed.co), and let’s talk about it!