By Patrick Carroll, Chief Medical Officer at Hims & Hers
When I joined Hims & Hers this past summer as the brand’s new chief medical officer, I did so because I saw immense promise for the future of digital health. Over the past year, my team and I have worked diligently to find ways to put consumers back in control of their healthcare.
As I look forward to what 2020 will hold, I anticipate a number of new hurdles will emerge, but I also see a significant opportunity for direct-to-consumer companies to continue to expand and help improve and strengthen the country’s healthcare system. Below are the five biggest trends I see happening in the digital healthcare marketplace over the next year.
1. Direct-to-Consumer digital health will continue to grow.
According to new data published by the Association of American Medical Colleges, the United States is projected to see a shortage of up to nearly 122,000 physicians by 2032. With dwindling access to in-person care, I see digitally-driven, direct-to-consumer businesses like Hims & Hers not only gaining more popularity as an alternative to an often inaccessible system, but also establishing themselves as a more integral part of our overall healthcare ethos.
Direct-to-consumer models have the potential to help alleviate so many of the accessibility issues faced by traditional healthcare systems. That said, digital health companies will never replace all in-person visits, but we can certainly make a substantial contribution towards a more efficient standard of care.
2. Stronger partnerships will be formed with existing health systems.
Direct-to-consumer providers have faced some headwinds and misperceptions since entering the healthcare market, but I believe that to make this new model of healthcare really work, we need to be able to work alongside existing providers and hospital systems.
As digital healthcare’s offerings continue to expand, we will inevitably be able to identify more complex health conditions that we are able to treat. Establishing partnerships with a network of health systems will allow us to seamlessly connect patients to primary and specialty care physicians when a face-to-face visit is needed, further closing the quality loop.
Hims & Hers has already put this into action through a new partnership with Ochsner Health System. In the new year, we will be able to start connecting Hims & Hers patients with Ochsner providers, helping patients further manage their health and control chronic conditions. This is just one of the multiple partnerships we have in the works for 2020.
3. More conditions will be treated through digital health.
We continually evaluate our Hims & Hers product offerings and look for ways to improve upon the treatments and products customers can access through our platform. Right now, dermatology is a primary focus for our team and we’re working with some of the country’s leading dermatologists to expand our skincare treatment options..
Right now we provide access to medical care and treatment for more than a dozen conditions, with more than 50 products. Look for that number to continue to grow in 2020.
4. Price transparency will remain a priority.
As the price of insurance continues to rise and high-deductible plans become increasingly common, more and more people are paying for their healthcare expenses out-of-pocket. It’s an issue that both policymakers and regulators are focused on.
With this financial weight shifting onto the consumer’s plate, it’s important for us to continue offering reasonable, transparent prices so that patients know exactly what they’re getting and how much it costs. Throughout next year, I see the frictionless system we’ve built being an option for more and more people because we can provide a faster, more efficient marketplace offering prices that patients can feel good about.
5. Health and wellness matters more than ever.
We are always working to increase access and destigmatize healthcare in everything we do at Hims & Hers. As the health zeitgeist begins to follow suit, we hope to see even more consumers coming to our platform to take control of their own health through both action and education.
It’s a big reason why we just announced a new partnership with Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez. We’re excited about where this will lead and about continuing to democratize access to high-quality health and wellness products everyone deserves.
We know that digital health has the potential to serve as the front door to a broader healthcare ecosystem and to help those who have struggled to access or afford care in the past. Whether you arrive looking for a prescription or an over-the-counter offering, we will continue to serve as both a marketplace and an educational hub.
Checking in with a doctor can be a positive experience and I want everyone who comes to Hims & Hers to feel like they have a reliable and safe place to get the care they need.