Hey Everyone - Dez here from Apex Venture Studios. I had my first surgery this past weekend. Pretty exciting stuff. For those of you that care, I had a septoplasty done to fix a deviated septum so I could breathe better. Outside of it still being a pandemic, I’d say on the balance it was a pretty routine surgery. My surgeon, nurses, and anestheisologists were all consummate professionals. I felt cared for and I felt like I was in the hands of experts, which I was. The only experience that felt off, or odd was payment. I had to, for the first time in my life, navigate the byzantine structures of our healthcare system. I won’t bore you all with the details, but my advice to anyone considering a “quality of life” surgery would be to get an estimate upfront, understand how much of your deductible remains (i.e at a minimum what you will be required to pay), and for the love of sweet baby Jesus go in network to get the surgery done.
The healthcare system in the US is down right odd, and it wasn’t constructed in a manner to deliver the best care - it was constructed in a way to make the most money. Which brings us to today’s startup - DocBright. DocBright is looking to bring high quality, affordable healthcare to as many people as possible. DocBright specifically focuses on dermatology and the company was founded by Jake and Jared Mandel, two brothers on a mission to redefine what is possible in our current healthcare system. Jake, Jared, and I talked about DocBright, what it’s like building a modern healthcare platform, and what it’s like building a startup with family. See below for our interview.
All Things Venture: What is DocBright?
Jared: DocBright is an online dermatology platform, and our mission is to bring top-quality, affordable dermatology care into everyone’s home. DocBright is built by patients and dermatologists for patients and dermatologists. We enable patients to easily get treated by a dermatologist from anywhere using an Internet browser by filling out a medical questionnaire and uploading photos of their condition. Their case is then assigned to a top-rated dermatologist in their state who reviews their submission and responds with a diagnosis or initial impression, a treatment plan or recommendation to see an in-person provider, and prescriptions if medically necessary -- all within 24 hours.
All Things Venture: What led you to build DocBright?
Jared: We had the idea for DocBright before the COVID-19 pandemic because we had a strong belief that healthcare, in general, could benefit from improved patient experiences and the use of well-positioned, innovative technology. It was clear that access to quality dermatology care, which is also affordable, is something that was lacking in both rural and remote areas of the U.S. as well as larger cities. In more remote areas, the closest dermatologist may be hours away and in larger cities, the wait for an appointment can be several weeks. We decided to build DocBright to solve these problems
All Things Venture: How does DocBright integrate in the insurance based model?
Jared: At DocBright we’ve made a conscious decision, at least for now, to be a self-pay-only platform. We’ve done a lot of research on the costs and benefits of using insurance for getting care from a specialist like a dermatologist. We have been able to price our service affordably at $59 so that it’s appealing to patients regardless of whether or not they have insurance. Oftentimes, patients without insurance will pay between $150 to $300 for a dermatology consultation and patients with insurance will have to pay between $50 to $100 or more on co-pays and co-insurance costs. By these measures, we believe $59 is an affordable price for top-quality care.
All Things Venture: Can you describe what it’s like working with your siblings/family members as an entrepreneur?
Jared: I think this is different for all family-run startups or businesses, and for us working with family is positive. We have skills that complement one another. I am very customer experience-focused, Jake has an analytical and financial skillset, and our father Dr. Mitchell Mandel has the medical expertise. All of our skills complement one another, and we’re able to put them to use in our defined responsibilities. When we come together to tackle a challenge, we're even better positioned to break through whatever wall we have in front of us with our combined skill set.
All Things Venture: Who do you believe DocBright is best positioned for?
Jared: Our goal is to make DocBright accessible to every American. We built DocBright to be a simple and seamless experience so it doesn’t matter if you are young or old, tech-savvy or not -- as long as you can access a web browser, you can use DocBright. If you’re having trouble, our Care Team is always standing by to help every step of the way.
All Things Venture: What are some of the challenges that you face at the current stage for DocBright?
Jared: Our biggest challenge right now at DocBright is spreading the word that we exist. When people do ultimately hear about DocBright and decide to check us out, they are deciding to trust us and use our platform in overwhelming numbers. We just need to let them know that dermatology telehealth exists and DocBright is the place to go for top-quality online dermatology care.
All Things Venture: What defines success for DocBright? over the next few months?
Jared: For us, success means providing a five-star experience for every single patient that chooses to trust DocBright for getting online dermatology care. Over the next few months, we want to increase the number of patients we are available to by entering new states and adding even more providers. Success ultimately means that we are available to any patient who wants to use our platform regardless of where they are located.
All Things Venture: Could you help our readers better understand your vision for DocBright?
Jared: Our vision at DocBright is that everyone will have access to top-quality, affordable dermatology care from home, no matter who they are or where they are. We want to always provide a personalized and caring experience for patients who use DocBright. Telehealth has been around for decades, but we believe it is still in its infancy for providing quality remote care, through innovative tools like DocBright, and we want to be the leaders in the online dermatology space. We’re constantly thinking about how we can make the platform more efficient and smart because at the end of the day, telehealth should help improve patient outcomes. That is an important part of our vision.
All Things Venture: What advice do you have for any aspiring entrepreneur?
Jared: My one piece of advice that I always give is something I learned early on in my career while working in innovation and customer experience at JetBlue Airways: always be building first for your customers, and success will follow. Every step of the way, no matter what you’re building, talk to your customers and most importantly, listen to them. Your customers have control over your success more than anyone. Make them your cheerleaders and you’ll be unstoppable.
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