These were the problems that Klara had to battle against. The startup based in Berlin offered its users an opportunity to have suspicious-looking skin conditions remotely diagnosed by a dermatologist. A smartphone photo was all it needed and a doctor reported back with an assessment within the following 48 hours. A perfectly simple procedure – with enormous potential for making the healthcare system more efficient.
After all, 90 per cent of all skin conditions can be diagnosed by looking at a picture. ‘Of these 90 per cent’, explains Klara founder Simon Lorenz, ‘70 per cent can be treated without even visiting a doctor. Actual face-to-face consultation with a doctor is only necessary in around 30 per cent of the cases’. As can be seen, the majority of skin conditions can be relatively easily treated. Unfortunately, dermatological reality here in Germany is a quite different matter. After waiting months for an appointment, ‘Herr Doktor’ often quickly identifies the patient’s mole or suspicious-looking skin condition as something completely harmless.
As the legal and infrastructural situation in the USA is significantly more favourable than in Germany, last year saw the startup finding its feet in the USA. In the meantime, Simon Lorenz and his team have left Europe behind and now offer their services exclusively on the US market. ‘The USA is the more attractive market, mainly because controls and monetisation options for medical services are much more transparent. It also explains why medical practitioners are much more open to innovative, and possibly disruptive, tools that may be used to increase efficiency and quality.’ Telemedicine laws, the lack of electronic prescriptions and above all the unwillingness to accept progress and take a big step into the future, literally paralyse enterprises attempting to make a start in the German telemedicine segment. ‘In the USA, the situation is completely the opposite’, confirms Simon Lorenz. The telemedicine ban in Germany provides, for instance, that ‘Physicians may not perform individual medical treatment, in particular medical counselling, exclusively via print and communications media.’
At present, the founding team is expanding Klara as a general contact platform for patients and doctors, and for all medical disciplines. Although the services currently focus on New York, the future of Klara foresees nationwide coverage. The provision of services in Germany is currently not on the agenda, even though the product team remains based in Berlin.