As the future of healthcare continues to evolve and technology use shapes our everyday life, the two will naturally become one. SkyMD is a pioneer in this field, building a platform which offers high quality, effective healthcare with the touch of a button. We speak with SkyMD co-founder, Eric Price, on the development of this game-changing app.
What is the story behind SkyMD, and how did you and your mother, Dr. Debra Price, come to co-found the project?As a former product management executive, I always had a passion for building technology to solve complex problems. My mother is a dermatologist, and as smartphone cameras improved her patients started asking her if they could text her photos of their skin concerns for a quick evaluation. There were three challenges with this: it’s not HIPAA compliant, it was inefficient, and there was no way to collect payment. With my technical background and Dr. Price’s deep clinical expertise, we knew we were the rightpeopleto build a solution.
Describe how the process works, can it all be done via smartphone? How can non-smartphone users still make use of the service? OnSkyMD, patients connect securely with a dermatologist, fill out a specialty specific questionnaire and take photos of their skin, hair or nail concerns. The dermatologist responds within 24 hourson average, with a personalized treatment plan including over- the-counter recommendations and prescriptions, if necessary. Patients can access SkyMD from any smartphone, tablet or desktop computer at www.skymd.com. They can also connect via our native iOS and Android apps.
What will the future of healthcare look like as it becomes more digitized? As online healthcare apps proliferate, brick and mortar healthcare organizations are realizing the importance of integrating virtual care into their own service offerings. As healthcare becomes more digitized, online healthcare will become more than just a tool to get quick online help from a doctor for a specific problem. It will increasingly become a channel to deepen and extend your offline relationship with your preferred provider. We are proud to be one of the companies leading this next evolution of digital health.
What are some of the ways in which healthcare simply can’t breakthrough into the high-tech realm, at least not yet? What are the hurdles to overcome? The biggest hurdles relate to legislation. One of the most onerous legal restrictions is that physicians can only treat patients online if they are located in states in which they have a license. In addition, each state also has their own interpretation of the legal boundaries surrounding virtual care within that state. For example, certain states prohibit the issuance of prescriptions without a prior in-person interaction. These legal restrictions limit the potential use cases telehealth and stunt the growth of the industry. The good news is that many of these legal restrictions are finally being challenged and reformed at a rapid pace, and this trend is expected to continue due to growing consumer pressure.
How does SkyMD work to support physicians and their practices? Our mission is to empower dermatologists, and eventually other medical specialists, to provide efficient, high quality care to their patients anytime, anywhere. Our technology platform is designed from the ground up to support that mission, but it doesn’t stop with the technology. Each practice receives a dedicated client success manager who provides customer support, ongoing training, and monthly utilization reports. SkyMD also provides hands-on marketing support to help practices onboard established patients and reach new patients through the platform. Our objective is to remove all obstacles and enable our healthcare providers to focus on providing the best possible care to their patients.
What is the missing element that SkyMD brings to the world of healthcare that no other service provides? Most telehealth platforms on the market today are “one size fits all” solutions relying on some mix of video, voice and secure chat. These solutions have gotten limited traction outside of primary care, in large part because they are not customized to the unique requirements of each medical specialty. For example, video doesn’t work well as a medium for treating dermatologic problems because the resolution of a video is not as high as that of a digital image. SkyMD offers dermatologists and their patients a telehealth platform that is specifically designed for their needs. We have plans to expand into other specialties over time, and as we do we will customize the platform for the specific needs of each specialty.