In the time of coronavirus, leaving the home may seem daunting, even if it is to go to the doctor. Hospitals and doctors’ offices are seeing an overwhelming number of patients being treated for COVID-19 related conditions. For those who are seeking treatments, as well as skincare products, a Lakewood doctor has launched a new telemedicine format.
This April, Simal Patel launched Strut Health, a virtual doctor’s office in which patients can be prescribed medicine for skin, hair and sexual health. Over the course of the past year, Patel has spent much time perfecting this concept.
“In the last three to five years, I got in to telemedicine,” Patel says. “I was working with one of our larger competitors, but I found that there was really no accountability. At that point, I decided that we can do a great job. We can bring some accountability to the telemedicine space.”
To receive a prescription, prospective patients take pictures of themselves using their computer’s web camera or the front-facing camera on their phone. They are then asked several questions regarding their health, diet, exercise habits and lifestyles. A team of doctors works to prescribe them the right medicine.
Many of the doctors work “until 10 or 11 at night” to prescribe medicine in a timely manner, Patel says. All Strut Health doctors are licensed in the state in which they practice.
“If I wasn’t licensed in Texas, you wouldn’t see me prescribing prescriptions in Texas,” Patel says. “But most of our physicians are licensed in at least 40 states, and we have to have one physician that’s licensed in all 50 states.”
It’s not ideal to launch a new business in the middle of a pandemic. Prior to launching Strut, Patel wasn’t anticipating COVID-19. However, he says that this is a good time to push telemedicine. He believes that this may be the new normal.
“Right when [COVID-19] happened, a lot of the doctors’ offices were shutting down, and patients were unable to get prescription refills,” Patel says. “Then, all of a sudden, telemedicine started ramping up, and this was a great avenue for us to kind of say, ‘Hey, what does the common patient need now? Should we continue with the skin, hair, sex and lifestyle-type medications? Or should we start planning for more of a primary care treatment setting?’”
In the third quarter of 2020, Patel plans to extend Strut to a primary care setting. For now, Patel is focused on helping deliver medications to patients as they need them. Once a patient is prescribed a medication, they will receive it within two business days, via FedEx shipping. It arrives in discreet packaging, along with a small bottle of hand sanitizer.
“I think this is a brand new era in medicine,” Patel says. “It’s essentially the next wave of how health care is going to transform.”
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