While acne care may seem like a leap from a company that has built its reputation (and a base of more than one million patients) largely through reproductive health, Nurx Clinical Team Leader Nancy Shannon, M.D., says the company has added acne to your portfolio. problems as an answer to the existing demand of patients. According to a Nurx survey, as many as 85 percent of patients reported acne problems, but only 7 percent of those reported being under the supervision of a dermatologist.
Dr. Shannon says that because the company works with 350,000 contraceptive patients, it has a unique expertise in hormonal issues that are causing a significant number of acne in the age group she treats. “More than half of the patients who come to us for birth control are concerned about acne – we see it in their medical records. [or] they ask us to provide this service, says Dr. Shannon. – And while we didn’t advertise it as an acne remedy, of course many women who come to us for birth control come either because they understand that oral contraceptives can help with acne or because their dermatologist referred them to Nurx to get help with birth control. ”
For these reasons, acne care has been a focus of the company long before the COVID-19 pandemic, but this year’s circumstances have heightened the need for this type of care, says Dr. Shannon. After all, it was difficult to see doctors in person, and no matter how severe the acne was, some people would rather stay safe at home than risk a technically insignificant appointment. At the same time, Dr. Shannon adds, the “mask”, also known as acne caused by wearing protective masks against COVID, caused or worsened rashes in 66 percent of Nurx patients surveyed.
But as Dr. Shannon points out, it’s tough to get on a dermatologist’s schedule, even at the best of times. “We don’t want the patient to have to wait,” she says. “We want them to be able to pick up the phone, open the app, ask someone to help them and get medication, if indicated, within a week. This is our dream. ”
Personal dermatology can also be costly. Although the cost of drugs is not included in Nurx’s $ 35 price tag, the company’s advice still accounts for only a small fraction of the cost of equivalent personal care, especially for those who are not insured. “What we are trying to do with this line of acne help – just like with our help for migraines, birth control, HIV prevention and STI testing – is to democratize medicine and healthcare and make them more accessible to all.” Dr. Shannon says. Nurx’s team has “worked very hard” to make their acne prescriptions available to the uninsured, she adds, and has partnered with pharmacies that insure for those who are not insured. (Prescriptions can also be sent to the patient’s pharmacy.)
This does not mean that the company will not take drugs in any scenario; Nurx health care providers offer a holistic approach to care. “We want people to think about how they take care of themselves and how that affects whether they have a breakout or not,” says Dr. Shannon, noting that sun protection, using the right skin care products, diet and more can affect acne problems. “And there are some really good OTC drugs that can also be used in conjunction with prescription drugs, and we will certainly refer people to them if needed,” she adds.
Of course, Nurx is not the first on the market for dermatological (and in particular acne-related) telemedicine. Hims & Hers also offers acne care; however, they use a free survey form to customize prescription creams, which the patient then purchases by subscription, rather than prescribing existing drugs purchased from pharmacies. (However, she offers contraceptive prescriptions separately.) Rory, Apostrophe, and Dermatica use similar models. This approach allows free consultations, but requires payment for treatment (for example, custom-made creams). Nurx’s approach, on the other hand, requires out-of-pocket fees for the consultation, but can help reduce client prescription costs for covered patients. Many conventional dermatologists have offered telemedicine visits to patients during a pandemic, but in most cases, regular visits are charged.
In terms of dermatological services, Nurx has no plans to stop with acne treatments either. Dr. Shannon says Nurks doesn’t understand what exactly is under development, but hopes to expand clients outside of their current younger-looking demographic. “Even at an older age, people develop skin conditions and skin problems that affect how they feel about themselves and how they interact with others,” she says. “We would like to help them, not just the younger age group with acne.”
It should be noted that many telemedicine services, including Nurx’s acne care services, are not yet available in all states due to various laws. But Dr. Shannon says this is slowly changing as a result of the pandemic, and she expects expansion. And there are compelling arguments for telemedicine going beyond this crisis – concerns about the cost and convenience of personal care have existed long before COVID-19, and Nurx is committed to alleviating much of the burden our current healthcare system places on patients. “We hope that contacting us is the same as picking up the phone and texting a friend,” says Dr. Shannon. “You don’t have to take a day off, you don’t have to try to find someone to take care of your child or anything like that – you just do it when it suits you.”
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