New Acne Care App Changes the Face of Telemedicine

The world of skin care has been shifting over the past few years. More and more people are purchasing at-home beauty devices, or mixing natural skin care products, in order to dodge high spa costs, and now an app will allow acne sufferers to get dermatologist advice straight from their smartphones.

The new app went up late last month. It’s called Spruce, and it connects patients to doctors in a unique way. Unlike many home doctor apps, there’s no live chat or real-time interaction. Patients simply take a few pictures of their acne, upload it, and wait for doctors to reply with recommended skin care regimens. Spruce even allows doctors to write prescriptions.

The app was developed by Ray Bradford, a former partner at Kleiner Perkins who hopes the app will change the face of what many are calling the telemedicine phenomena. According to Bradford, the problem with many current apps is that they try to do to many things at once, and what should be a quick and easy remote doctor visit becomes stilted and awkward.

Instead, his app looks to treat a single condition with extreme precision, eliminating the need for interaction. Instead of creating the experience of visiting the dermatologist, he looked to create something even better.

The asynchronous nature is the key to Spruce’s appeal. Users can take as little or as much time as they want to create an account, take pictures, formulate inquiries, and answer questions about their skin condition. Usually this only takes a few minutes. When they’re done, they can send off the information and go about their day.

In under 24 hours, a certified dermatologist in the same state as the user constructs a personalized treatment plan and sends it over, complete with digitally filed prescriptions sent to a pharmacy of the user’s choosing.

The 24-hour wait time may seem a long one in our culture of instant gratification, but it completely eliminates the need to make an appointment and wait weeks or even months to be seen by a dermatologist. Doctors working from the app can set their own schedule and care for patients from their mobile devices anytime and anywhere they want to, through a clean and simple interface.

“Acne is a very common and embarrassing skin condition that affects millions of teenagers and adults. Fortunately, there are now many affordable and effective solutions for acne sufferers that do not require time consuming and costly visits to the Dermatologist office,” says Kimberly Langford, Marketing Representative at Jellen Products, Inc. “New and innovative products such as Spruce and the growing availability of portable in-home acne machines and devices clinically proven to abolish acne by cleansing the skin of harmful bacteria and toxins, offer exciting new hope for those seeking to achieve clearer skin.”

In an interview with Wired, Bradford said that only 20% of people with acne will ever bother to see a dermatologist. With an app that’s as easy to use as Spruce, it’s likely that many more people will get the treatment they need.

Spruce costs a flat fee of $40 and is currently available in California, New York, Florida, and Pennsylvania.

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