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From drugstore to app store: has dermatology's digital evolution killed 10-step skincare?

Miraj Patel

Business Development Manager

June 30, 2023
6 minute read

Now that the use of filters to achieve a flawless complexion on screen has been normalised, members of the digital native generation are increasingly seeking to recreate their perfect online skin ‘IRL’ (in real life).

However, unlike their parents’ generation, those seeking skin perfection today are turning their backs on expensive, time consuming, multi-product and often ineffective routines. Instead, they are picking up their smartphones to consult with on-demand dermatologists, and receiving prescribed products delivered to their doors.

As NHS dermatology wait times grow longer, those looking to find solutions for their skincare concerns are choosing to invest in private digital dermatology appointments rather than spending equivalent amounts on ‘miracle’ creams and serums. This fact, coupled with the incredibly high quality of the average smartphone camera and the convenience of virtual doctors appointments, means that digital dermatology is now a flourishing industry. Leading private digital providers include skindoc, The Dermatology Partnership, Derma Consult and DigiDerm.

The end of trial and error skincare

Struggling with a skin issue, whether that be acne, psoriasis, rosacea or uneven pigmentation, can be a stressful experience that leaves a big dent in self-confidence. Endlessly trying different combinations of products to see ‘what works’ is frustrating, expensive and slow, and there is a growing demand for dermatologist-led skincare provision. On the beauty end of the spectrum, Skin + Me are unlocking personalised, professional-quality treatments for millions of subscribers.  

At the medical end of the dermatology spectrum, people who are newly-comfortable with online GP and therapy services are now seeking out that same convenience. This new cohort of digital dermatology users place a high value on accessible, discrete expert support, and look for a seamless user experience from first appointment to medication delivery.

Growing a user base: how the market leaders are winning and keeping customers

The most successful UK dermatology VIMPROs (vertically integrated micro providers) are meeting and exceeding these customer requirements. They make it easy and cost-effective to book appointments with highly specialised and experienced clinicians, enable video consultations, and allow image sharing.

They also integrate the pharmacy processes directly into their platform, so required prescriptions can be digitally generated, signed and filled quickly and conveniently. This is typically achieved through partnership with a digital pharmacy API provider, such as Phlo Connect, whose technology provides the required backend infrastructure.

Testimonials prove that patients appreciate the “peace of mind” that comes when they know that their treatment will be “seamlessly” delivered and all medication pricesdisplayed up-front. No more queuing at pharmacies, hidden costs or missing paperwork.

Operating at scale: skindoc’s success

skindoc is one of the market leading providers of digital dermatology services in the UK, offering appointments with consultants for professional diagnosis and rapid treatment.

However, they initially struggled to scale their services online with soaring demand. Two years ago, their founders reached out to the Phlo Connect team to tap into their regulatory expertise and secure their help in integrating a compliant online prescribing platform to the existing skindoc offering.

Phlo Connect worked to customise an interface that skindoc could plug into, enabling clinicians to generate digital prescriptions and enabling the tracking of medication delivery and easy auditing.

Phlo Connect’s experienced clinical staff, which consists of pharmacists, superintendents, and prescribers, also helped the skindoc team to meet regulatory standards in the provision of private dermatology services, such as support with treatment protocols, safeguarding measures, and CQC registrations.

According to Dr. James Denny, skindoc co-founder, the launch of the digital prescribing capabilities saved significant admin time clinicians, and the convenient home delivery option removed barriers to medication access for skindoc users.

“It has been game changing for the growth capability of our business and for the experiences of our patients,” Denny has said.

skindoc’s enthusiasm to embrace impactful digital solutions to pain points was instrumental in boosting their growth trajectory. This is reflected across the rapidly-evolving landscape of dermatology, where innovation led by skindoc and other startups has wielded a transformative impact. As user adoption increases, the future of skincare will be one in which clinicians are supported to deliver the best care and individuals are empowered with accessible, successful treatment.

To learn more about how Phlo Connect works with digital dermatology providers like skindoc, get in touch with a member of our team.

Written by

Miraj Patel

Business Development Manager

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