Moving Beyond The “Doctor’s Office Visit”

Visiting a doctor’s office is often medically unnecessary. Mandating them for every ache, pain and prescription is an idea from a different, pre-internet time.

They make care more costly and less convenient than it should be. The effects of this model are plain to see: many of us don’t receive care when we should, and still many others don’t receive care at all. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

Doctors can deliver care remotely, no matter where or when their patients need it. Sick on the road? Whip out your phone. Need a new prescription at home? Fire up an app.

The key to making this approach a reality is the combination of diagnostic tools, a network of doctors, and the technology necessary to deliver treatment directly to the patient. This means no more scheduling, traveling, or sitting in a waiting room when it’s unnecessary. More cost-effective than most insurance plans and more convenient than taking time away from kids or work — something near-impossible for many individuals — this is a simple solution to a major systemic problem.

As patients and advocates, we’ve seen these problems first-hand. In 2015, we set out to make a difference.

Our mission was simple. We wanted to deliver care directly to patients using the devices they already have. and to make that care more convenient, more accessible, and more affordable.

“Delivering healthcare” is a pretty broad — and pretty daunting — prospect, so we decided to start by solving a problem I experienced personally: not being able to get my contact lenses because of an expired prescription. Our first product, Simple Contacts, provides online eye exams and costs only $20 — hundreds of dollars less than a yearly office visit and far less time spent scheduling, traveling, and waiting.

Since we launched in 2015, hundreds of thousands of patients have used our platform. We’ve received an overwhelmingly positive response, with thousands of five-star reviews on the App Store. As we cross the million-patient threshold in 2018, one thing is abundantly clear: bringing healthcare online will go a long way toward fixing our ailing healthcare system.

My prediction for this new year is that we’re going to see an explosion of similar products going mainstream. Things like remote only primary care, at-home blood testing, and prescriptions for birth control. This is a promising start. We’re helping to build the core parts of the ecosystem that will help to make people more comfortable with and accepting of online care. These interventions are paving the way for solutions to more difficult health problems like diabetes, asthma, and heart disease.

Doctors started working in offices because it was more convenient for them and for their patients. The world has changed, and now there’s a better way: healthcare wherever and whenever people want it.