Insufficient Access to Healthcare
Skin cancer is the most common cancer: about 3.3 million Americans are diagnosed with skin cancer each year2 and 1 in 5 Americans develop skin cancer during their lifetime.1 But skin cancer can be detected early and fatal prognoses can be avoided if patients regularly examine their skin and report any changes to their doctor in a timely manner.
Unfortunately, even when patients discover a concerning rash or mole, they are not guaranteed access to care, prompt or otherwise.
On average, patients wait 29 days for a dermatology visit; those on Medicaid or in certain geographies often wait 100+ days.1,4 “Reducing the wait time for skin cancer diagnosis by even a week can result in a significant decrease in mortality.”4
And, access to health insurance “does not always guarantee access to a physician,” especially for some of the most vulnerable population.3 A 2014 survey of 15 metropolitan US markets (administered by Merritt Hawkins) reveals the following:3
- Medicaid is not widely accepted: 45.7% average acceptance rate, with significant variation across markets
- Medicare is more generally accepted, but does not ensure access:0% average acceptance rate, more standardized across markets
Today’s “Store and Forward” Telemedicine Market
Advances in Internet connectivity have allowed for the rise of telemedicine – the exchange of medical information via electronic communication. Now doctors can receive digital images of patient data sent from remote locations and use those images to “render medical opinion or diagnosis” without ever having to see the patient in person.5
Consequently, telemedicine has the potential to be a transformative tool, broadening healthcare access to traditionally underserved populations. It presents an exciting opportunity to provide better care for those who live in rural areas and those with limited income and resources.
Founded in 2012
Mission: Create a practical dermatology triage system “designed to expedite appointments for the most urgent consults while screening out benign concerns”4
“Without a reliable dermatology triage system, thousands of patients requiring urgent intervention wait alongside millions with benign conditions.” – 3Derm1
Concept: 3D skin imaging system that “captures and delivers the same 3 views a dermatologist uses in an exam room, making remote visits virtually indistinguishable from current practice.” 1 This allows for primary care physicians to quickly (and remotely) scan hundreds of images and prioritize dermatology referrals based on need.
Strategy: Enter dermatology care supply chain as intermediary that provides value to each member of the chain.
Early Success: Clinical study showing efficacy and accuracy of 3Derm technology in n=350 patients. “Dermatologists reading 3Derm images identified malignant and benign legions on par with dermatologists diagnosing in-person.”1
The Physician, Provider & Patient Promise
3Derm provides value across the entire supply chain by improving quality and efficiency while reducing cost,7 and helps efficiently allocate scarce resources to meet the most urgent demand.
- Improved clinical outcomes
- Improved patient satisfaction
- Better leveraged time / more efficient referrals (reduced number of in-person visits for patients with benign conditions and better ability to prioritize care for those in urgent need)
- More flexible hours
- Higher practice revenue
- Prevent disease progression, which can be exceptionally costly
- Greater access to care when needed
- Improved convenience (can avoid going to the doctor when not urgent)
Next Steps 3Derm Should Consider Implementing
3Derm will need to continue to develop its network of clinics and hospital systems and strengthen relationships with dermatologists to ensure that they will make room for for high priority patients… even those without private coverage.
Additionally, there are two main strategies 3Derm can pursue to improve product adoption
- Use data to convince insurance providers to improve reimbursement: As mentioned above, telemedicine is not consistently covered for all patients, least of all those on Medicaid. Consequently, 3Derm should invest in health economics and outcomes research (HEOR) studies to show insurance providers the potential for substantial cost-savings and improved health outcomes presented by this technology. Additionally, 3Derm can partner with other telemedicine companies to lobby for expansion of Medicare and Medicaid coverage of telemedicine.6
- Reduce barriers to interstate use of telemedicine services: Current licensing laws impede interstate use of medical services (40 states require all physicians to have a full in-state medical license in order to practice teledermatopathology). Consequently, 3Derm should partner with other telemedicine companies to reduce additional licensing requirements and, in the meantime, ensure their network contains specialist providers in all states across the country.5
- Company Website. Retrieved from: https://www.3derm.com/
- Skin Cancer Factsheet. Retrieved from: http://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancercauses/sunanduvexposure/skin-cancer-facts
- Merritt Hawkins 2014 Survey: Physician Appointment Wait Times and Medicaid and Medicare Acceptance Rates. Retrieved from: http://www.merritthawkins.com/uploadedFiles/MerrittHawkings/Surveys/mha2014waitsurvPDF.pdf
- 3Derm Teledermatology System Makes Commercial Debut at ATA 2016 Conference. Retrieved from: http://www.marketwired.com/press-release/3derm-teledermatology-system-makes-commercial-debut-at-ata-2016-conference-2124365.htm
- Giambrone, D. et al. (Oct 2014). Obstacles hindering the mainstream practice of teledermatopathology. Retrieved from: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0190962214014005
- Beck, M. (June 2016). How Telemedicine Is Transforming Health Care. Retrieved from: http://www.wsj.com/articles/how-telemedicine-is-transforming-health-care-1466993402
- Collier, G. (Jul 2016). Economic Driver: 3Derm skin cancer imaging is chosen for state pilot program. Retrieved from: http://www.telegram.com/news/20160710/economic-driver-3derm-skin-cancer-imaging-is-chosen-for-state-pilot-program