Rise of Self-Directed Care and DTC Healthcare Brands

Rise of Self-Directed Care and DTC Healthcare Brands

Digital-first direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands have already shaken up the personal care, fashion, and accessories industries. Harry’s, Dollar Shave Club, Warby Parker, and Allbirds–just to name a few.

The DTC trend has now taken healthcare by storm. Ro, a telehealth start-up with a portfolio of brands that provides in-home care, diagnostics, and pharmacy services, raised $500 million last March sporting a $5 billion valuation. Thirty Madison, specializing in treating chronic conditions, raised $140 million last summer and achieved unicorn status. Hims & Hers Health went public via a SPAC last year. And there are hundreds more start-ups across every imaginable modality and condition.

Even traditional healthcare companies are going direct. National lab network company Labcorp operates Labcorp OnDemand. Labcorp OnDemand allows consumers to order lab work and tests from the comfort of their home without going to see a doctor first.

Consumer convenience, lower costs, and a better user experience are key benefits for patients. Also contributing to these companies’ growth and consumer adoption is the “self-directed healthcare movement.” During the pandemic, when our healthcare system was overstretched, many patients had to take matters into their own hands. Patients who couldn’t easily see their doctor in-person turned to telehealth options. Telehealth usage soared and, according to a McKinsey study, 76% of consumers are interested in using telehealth going forward. Consumers are also used to tracking their vitals and exercise from wearables, such as Fitbit, Apple Watch, and Amazon Halo.

Plus, with about a quarter of adults without a regular primary care physician, more consumers will be turning to these DTC “consultation-to-prescription” companies.

For these DTC healthcare companies, they gain lots of efficiencies by cutting out traditional intermediaries, and in many cases, not having to operate brick and mortar offices.

These DTC healthcare companies often ship medication, test kits, or medical devices directly to your home, after an independent licensed clinician in your state reviews and approves your order request.

There is also a benefit to clinicians. They are able to serve more patients beyond those that live near them. Clinicians are doing telehealth full-time or using it to supplement their income.

But it is a lot of work for these DTC healthcare companies to recruit, train, and maintain a staff of clinicians to cover all 50 states! We should know, as we have been doing that directly for the past 5 years for our SteadyMD Primary Care service (now marketed by Lemonaid Health as Lemonaid Primary Care Complete).

Most DTC healthcare companies are great marketing companies, user experience design companies, or operational experts running distribution centers. Rather than also managing a large and complex state-by-state clinician workforce, they can partner with SteadyMD to scale across the US – 24/7.

SteadyMD is proud to do its part to enable these DTC business models to flourish, providing a 50-state clinician workforce and taking care of all the operational, regulatory, and technical requirements for our B2B healthcare partners. And ultimately improving access to affordable healthcare options for millions of Americans, which has been our mission since day one.

Are you a healthcare company that needs help powering your telehealth business? Let’s talk.

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