Josh Ong is the US Editor at The Next Web. He previously worked as TNW's China Editor and LA Reporter. Follow him on Twitter or email him a Josh Ong is the US Editor at The Next Web. He previously worked as TNW's China Editor and LA Reporter. Follow him on Twitter or email him at [email protected].
Skin conditions are a – pardon the pun – sensitive topic, so going to a dermatologist can be an intimidating experience. Now you can get your problems diagnosed online through Klara, an iOS and Android app that sends your photos anonymously to board-certified dermatologists who review your case.
Germany-based Klara launched its service first in Europe before bringing it to the US this summer. The app has you take two pictures of your condition, fill out a questionnaire, and pay $39 for the consultation. Klara promises an answer in the next 48 hours.
Tele-medicine has its limits, but Klara has found that the vast majority of skin diseases can be diagnosed via photos and treated without the need for a physical exam. The company does, however, caution that its service is “a complement (not replacement) to an in-person doctor visit.” Some patients will need biopsies or follow-up treatment, but those cases are rare. Klara offers a money-back guarantee for customers that are unhappy with their diagnosis.
I found Klara’s pricing to be competitive. My insurance plan requires that I visit a general practitioner first before being referred to a specialist, so with a $20 copay for each appointment, I’d have spent just as much going through insurance as on Klara, not to mention the time, gas and productivity that I would lose from two trips to the doctor.
When I sent in a request to Klara, the response I got was slightly more helpful than the dermatologists that I’ve seen in the past about a similar issue. The diagnosis still ended up being circular, but the doctor put more effort into the answer than I usually get from an in-person visit.
One common use for the app is to ask about sexually-transmitted diseases, according to Klara co-founder Simon Lorenz. Many patients are too embarrassed to have their private areas checked, so the option to send in an anonymous photo from home could encourage users to get help.
Klara also has a medical platform play in the works that will let existing dermatologists connect with their existing patients. When you open the app, you can choose to enter an invitation code that your doctor gives you. Lorenz noted that some dermatologists currently have patients send photos over email, which violates state regulations.
In the future, Klara plans to add video consultation options and medical specialties beyond just dermatology.
Related: Doctor on Demand brings its video medical appointments to the desktop
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