The Rise Of Virtual Prescriptions

Forget endless referrals and sitting in waiting rooms. These virtual services are making prescription-only products more accessible than ever. 

The aesthetics and wellness industries have had a tailor-made glow-up bringing personalised services to anyone who can jump onto a video chat. There’s no denying that COVID-19 has drastically changed Australia’s approach to telehealth and it’s opening the door to a new level of customisation.

From the comfort of their homes, patients can dial into a virtual consultation receiving expert advice and prescription-only products delivered direct to their doors. While nothing can quite replace certain aspects of the in-clinic experience, particularly when it comes to skin health, there are undeniable benefits to the reach these services are able to have. 

Take a look at the skincare, aesthetics and health brands that are changing the game. 

Software

Accessibility to professional advice and prescription only skincare was the motivating factor behind Niamh Mooney’s decision to create Software. 

Software founder, Niamh Mooney

“I grew up in rural Victoria and struggled with my skin as a teenager. I know all too well what it’s like when there’s no dermatologist in your town and the nearest is a 2 hr drive away! Software was created to fix that problem and improve access to clinically proven skincare products for all Aussies,” shares Niamh.

Through virtual consultations with highly experienced doctors, Software can recommend and custom formulate products for their patients with ingredients that formally could only be picked up with a prescription from your local chemist. And they do it all at an accessible price point. 

“The barrier to these prescription products has been spending hundreds of dollars to see a dermatologist for treatment. Software is our solution to that, while still ensuring people get quality care from trained professionals.”

As the sister of a Dermatologist, Niamh is realistic about the limitations of virtual consults but believes telehealth services are only set to grow. 

“I don’t believe that telehealth will ever completely replace a visit to the aesthetician or the dermatologist. There are certain conditions and patients that need face-to-face consultations. However, I have no doubt that telehealth will continue to grow and will be a central function of healthcare in Australia in years to come.”

The Secret 

There’s more than 20 years of diverse experience in the medi-aesthetics industry between the founders of The Secret, Dr Clara Hurst and Dr Deb Cohen-Jones. Customisation is the aim of their prescription skincare.  

The Secret founders, Dr Clara Hurst and Dr Deb Cohen-Jones

“We saw a gap in the industry to curate a product that would perfectly complement its owner rather than try to squeeze them into a one size fits all formula. Prescription skincare allows just that; however, it’s usually not easily accessible for the everyday individual, with multiple referrals, long wait times and large consultation fees,” says Dr Clara. 

“You won’t find us on the shelf because we are not your standard day and night moisturiser. Our products utilise the power and strength of prescription ingredients and are hand-made to order for each individual based on their medical details and skin history,” shares Dr Deb. 

“Skin can be so personal and having worked closely with so many patients throughout the years, we understand just how much of an effect skin can have on a person. It’s a journey to healthy skin and we’re here with them every step of the way.”

While The Secret is certainly bringing the expertise of the doctors behind the brand to the masses, Dr Clara believes prescription services are no replacement for a face-to-face appointment.    

“Prescription skincare and in-clinic treatments go hand-in-hand. Think of it this way, would you purchase a Ferrari just to fill it up with 91? The same way you want to maintain the condition of your car, you want to maintain the results of your treatments! 

“Not only can prescription skincare maintain the results of clinical treatments, they can also boost their efficacy and reduce your recovery time through preparation.” 

The Secret custom formulate prescription skincare products after a virtual consultation.

Fresh Clinics 

While consumer focused prescription brands continue to grow, Fresh Clinics is bringing prescription accessibility to aesthetic professionals. Many nurses will be familiar with the virtual consulting process working with prescribing doctors to deliver injectable treatments in clinic. Fresh Clinics wants to make the dial in process even easier with technology that automates compliance and connects professionals with a network of on-demand doctors. 

It’s network of doctors is large making it quick to access professional advice, expert guidance and a doctor to prescribe Schedule 4 medications. Importantly, the service is about more than just gaining the authority to treat, but also an experienced opinion from a doctor who’s as invested in the patient as any. 

Through its technology, doctors and nurses can also manage their patient records and order medical supplies, including their prescribed toxins, fillers and other medications. While patient safety is a huge priority, Fresh Clinic’s main advantage is the ability for smaller clinics to access prescribing doctors and offer new services to their patients. 

Kin Fertility

An Australian first and exciting leap in fertility treatment accessibility, Kin has grown from being a subscription service for the contraceptive pill, to a tech-based reproductive health service that’s making it easier to take control of your fertility journey. And it all started from founder Nicole Liu’s realisation that many Australian’s were suffering in silence.

“When I was 24, I was misdiagnosed by a doctor with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) and told I was going to be infertile (in those words!). I wasn’t even sure that I wanted kids at that time, but to feel like I didn’t have the option was really scary. It led me down the deep rabbit hole that is Dr. Google, but that left me so much more confused than I already was,” shares Nicole.

Kin Fertility founder, Nicole Liu

Though her PCOS ended up being a misdiagnosis, the emotional and confusing experience saw Nicole turning to her friends, which became a discovery of shared experiences. 

“When something weird happens to you, the weirdest thing to hear back when you tell someone about it is ‘me too’. But that’s exactly what happened.”

From stigmatisation around reproductive conversations to misinformation and a lack of awareness, Nicole experienced first-hand that something was lacking, and Kin was her answer. 

Kin offer a subscription service for the contraceptive pill automating the process.

Kin offers options for every stage of the fertility treatment, all through affordable telehealth appointments and automated subscriptions to prescription products. Convenience is certainly the biggest draw, taking away the need to re-visit your GP every few months. But it’s their steps to ensure patient safety that makes this service quite special.

“We have a 40-60 question questionnaire at the beginning of every consult to pull in important information that doctors often need to ensure they are safely prescribing medication. A lot of patients tell us this is often more than their in-person doctor will ask them when it comes to the pill,” says Nicole.

While Kin remains as the solo leader of virtual prescription healthcare in the reproductive field, Nicole is confident the convenience of the prescription model will be translated into many other areas of health.

“I think COVID-19 proved that there’s a lot more of healthcare that can be done online and I think we’re just seeing the start of it. I’m really excited to see the ways the rapidly growing tech industry, and our online ecosystems, can help people get improved quality of care across their health needs.” 

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