Interview with Alexander Börve, the founder and CEO of First Derm

Alexander Borve

Our latest interviewee is Alexander Börve, the founder and CEO of First Derm (iDoc24 Inc). He is a physician, and has been a researcher in the telemedicine space since 2008. Alexander moved to San Francisco from Sweden in 2013 as a visiting PhD student at UC Berkeley. Here’s what he had to say…

How would you pitch your company? What’s your elevator pitch?

First Derm (developed by iDoc24 Inc) is an app and web-service that connects users directly to dermatologists for an opinion on any skin issue. Anywhere, anytime, anonymously.

The average wait-time to see a dermatologist in the United States is 29 days. In that time, some skin problems can become worse. On the other hand, most skin problems are quite minor and usually can be resolved with over-the-counter treatment. Whether severe or minor, skin issues cause people a lot worry because there is no quick or reliable way to find out which are which.

With our app, users take two pictures of their skin issue, describe their symptoms, pay a consultation fee and press send. Within 24 hours our network of dermatologists provides an answer on: 1) the likely identity of the skin problem; 2) possible at-home treatment options; and 3) if/when a doctor’s visit is recommended. 70% of users are recommended OTC treatment, and 30% of users have more serious skin problems and are directed to dermatologists in the area.

What sets you apart from competitors?

People are tired of constantly signing up for new services and giving away their personal information, especially when it comes to their health. Our users are kept completely anonymous and secure – no sign up or registration is needed – they get started with our dermatologists right away. Most of our competitors are trying to move the entire dermatology experience online. We provide triaging medical opinions so we can be faster and more efficient.

What’s your business model?

Customers pay-per-use: $25 for 48 hr response, $40 for 24 hr response, $100 for 8 hr response.

Can you share some numbers? How many users do you have?

100,000+ app downloads, 5,000 cases submitted per month with 22% month-over-month growth.

Where do you see the company going from here?

In 2015 we will remain focused on growing our teledermatology service. Once we have the distribution channels established, we will launch other mobile health services. Within 3 years, we will be a one-stop shop for fast access to many different types of specialists.

Where do you see the mHealth industry going?

mHealth will democratize medicine. The HIMSS reports for 2015 show that the incumbent players in healthcare, not the patients, still own most healthcare data. Growth of mHealth will turn the tables. Patients will own, collect, and use their personal health data on their mobile phones and the cloud. We can already see this with trackers: running, sleep, heartbeats, etc.

How long are we from seeing modern mHealth technologies going mainstream?

When I give my presentations at conferences such as Health 2.0 I’m always ask the audience how many of have actually used an m/telehealth service. Less than 30% of the crowd raises their hands – and these are die-hard mHealth enthusiasts!

There is still a slow uptake by consumers. With that being said, every big company in tech is starting to get involved (Microsoft, Apple, Dell, IBM, etc.). I’d say by 2017 it will be mainstream, especially when payers get more involved.