Redefining Asynchronous Telemedicine
Every successful endeavor has its own set of challenges and risk factors. In fact, successes are inextricably linked to failures. “The way I see it, there is no success without failure. In general, what is perceived or called a failure is very subjective. Anyone who has not failed in his or her life yet is clearly not taking enough risk,” says Dr. Philipp S. F. Wustrow, a passionate healthcare leader and the co-founder of OnlineDoctor. It is this mindset that convinced him to go beyond the challenges that exist in healthcare and design a leading teledermatology platform with his co-founders.
Appealing and challenging market
Healthcare is indeed a very challenging sector. Rethinking existing structures and breaking them up requires a lot of patience. In addition, especially as a startup, one is dependent on key stakeholders such as health insurance companies or specific associations to support the offered solution and make it accessible. This process is lengthy and ties up a lot of resources. “It is therefore particularly important to maintain the focus in any case and to ensure the proof of concept in a niche market rather than immediately trying to diversify and expand into other markets as quickly as possible,” states Dr. Wustrow. The scaling of a business model is usually not possible within a few months. It is, among other things, these peculiarities of healthcare that make a start-up in this field so appealing and, at the same time, so challenging. Moreover, changing regulatory conditions and growing competition are additional perils in the market. “This, in the future, may lead up to an eventual consolidation of the market. Startups ought to be prepared and aware of this global development, and try to create sustainable market entry barriers and thereby strengthen their position in the market.”
Digital care in a strongly growing sector
As a startup, the idea of OnlineDoctor was not solely based on the large market potential, but on concrete problems identified and described by leading dermatologists in Germany and Switzerland. “That is how we learned that they did not have a professional tool at hand to care for their patients digitally and to diagnose skin diseases remotely,” points out Dr. Wustrow. OnlineDoctor developed a tool that solves this problem for all specialists and makes their everyday processes more efficient. They focus on teledermatology, which is potentially the fastest-growing sector in telemedicine with a CAGR of approximately 25 percent.
It has been found that about 25 percent of the adult population has a skin problem each year and 70 percent of these cases can be treated purely by teledermatology according to recent scientific research. As per the current expectations, the global teledermatology market will already be worth over USD 40 billion by 2027.
Collaborative and purpose-driven
The platform was developed in close collaboration with leading dermatologists who are themselves pioneers in the field of telemedicine. Unlike other products, the company focuses their value proposition on specialists. “In addition, we rely on asynchronous communication between doctor and patient. Asynchronous telemedicine not only digitizes the doctor’s visit, but also makes processes and workflows more efficient,” Dr. Wustrow notes.
The patients’ requests are not forwarded to an anonymous pool of dermatologists, but each patient has the possibility to choose his “desired dermatologist” via OnlineDoctor. The platform can be used immediately without time-consuming registration or an app download.
The company pursues a philosophy of enabling and encouraging their employees to make decisions and launch initiatives themselves. Their collaborative and purpose-driven approaches are modern and effective. They follow a culture of trust across hierarchies and functions. Being open to change and other opinions, OnlineDoctor is led in a person-oriented and empathic way to accomplish its clear vision and transparent corporate goals. For this, Dr. Wustrow believes, “we need to be passionate about our work, risk-takers by nature, and strong team builders.”