Askin provides a digital dermatology service, giving patients and healthcare professionals easy access to top-notch dermatologists. “Our vision is to provide better dermatology care to more people, while making effective use of society’s economic resources,” says Dr Mohammad Rizvi, CEO and co-founder of Askin.
From unsightly acne to itchy eczema and painful psoriasis, skin diseases continue to be the fourth leading cause of nonfatal disease burden worldwide. In Norway, as much as 20 per cent of all consultations with general practitioners involve skin problems, and these patients must often be referred to a specialist. However, quick and easy access to dermatology care is rare, due in part to long queues to see a specialist and a global shortage of dermatologists.
“Skin diseases cause enormous suffering, both physically and psychologically. Patients should not have to endure pain, itching, scarring and embarrassment from a lack of timely care,” says Rizvi.
Askin provides dermatology care through a digital platform. Using a mobile phone or PC app, dermatologists conduct synchronous consultations on video and asynchronous consultations based on an image submitted by a patient or healthcare professional. Users receive a response within 24 hours, which may include a treatment plan, prescription and/or referral.
“Our service follows up patients from start to finish. Some patients require only one meeting, while others need ongoing treatment for a chronic condition,” explains Rizvi. Those with chronic skin conditions can join a subscription programme.
Askin provides the fastest possible care for dermatology concerns. Users avoid excessive wait times and long drives to a medical facility. This is especially important for skin cancer, which needs a timely, accurate diagnosis and treatment; otherwise, in the worst case, death could result.
As a private service provider, Askin complements the public health service. “We aim to have a close cooperation with the national health system, helping to strengthen the overall medical care provided to the general public,” says Rizvi.
Askin keeps costs affordable for individual users, charging about three times less than a traditional, private dermatologist. The service accepts electronic payment and ensures the patient’s confidentiality and log-in security.
High-quality, easily accessible dermatology will always be in demand. “We see skin problems in every phase of life – children, teenagers and adults. Up to 20 per cent of Norwegian children have eczema, and skin cancer is increasing in the western world,” says Rizvi.
Askin will soon export its technology and business model to Sweden with a Swedish-language version and then globally with an English-language version. Dermatologists can write prescriptions valid in the EU, and most Asian countries have an over-the-counter market.
Always in research mode, the company is currently experimenting with AI in the treatment of acne.