While companies like MeMD, American Well and Zipnosis have focused on facilitating online treatment for colds, allergies, ear infections and a variety of other common ailments, other innovative companies have honed in on specialty care areas that depend heavily on a visual diagnosis. A prime example is dermatology. DermatologistOnCall, Direct Dermatology and DermLink are among several companies that connect patients online to board-certified dermatologists for diagnosis and treatment of a wide variety of skin diseases and disorders. While there is some minor variation between service solutions, in the basic model a patient sets up an online account, answers general health questions, uploads photos of their skin condition and then submits this information for review by a dermatologist. A consumer can usually initiate a consultation 24/7, but these solutions are not live webcam consultations. Instead, submitted photos and health information are reviewed by a dermatologist in the consumer's State of residence on a delayed basis, so it can take anywhere from 24 hours to several business days, depending on the service provider, for a treatment plan to be ready for a consumer. If a prescription is involved in the treatment plan, it can be sent electronically to a pharmacy near the consumer's residence for fulfillment. If the consulting dermatologist deems that an in-office procedure (like a biopsy) is needed, the consumer can arrange a referral to local dermatologist for further evaluation.
Using a similar online delivery approach, other innovators like YoDerm and PocketDerm have an even narrower focus. These two services aim specifically at acne diagnosis and treatment, connecting consumers online to dermatologists for acne care and prescription medication.