Health Tech

Hims & Hers CMO: The Healthcare Industry’s Strengths and Weaknesses Regarding Telehealth

Telehealth is great at expanding access to care, but sometimes the quality isn’t there, according to Dr. Pat Carroll, chief medical officer of Hims & Hers.

Telehealth has emerged as an important way to receive care, especially after Covid-19 when many providers were forced to provide care virtually. San Francisco-based Hims & Hers, however, has always been telemedicine-based, even before the pandemic. It offers care across all 50 states for conditions related to sexual health, hair care, mental health, skincare and primary care.

At the ViVE conference on Monday, MedCity News sat down with Dr. Pat Carroll, chief medical officer of Hims & Hers, to discuss where he thinks the healthcare industry is excelling when it comes to telehealth and where he thinks it’s lacking.

He said that what the industry is doing well with telehealth is expanding access to care. But he added that in order to “win” in telehealth, the care needs to be specialized and personalized.

“[The care should] relate to the individual customer and be really customer-focused,” Carroll said. “You just can’t offer a generic telehealth offering and say people are going to gravitate towards it because what we’ve seen coming out of the pandemic in routine primary care, that acute episodic care, urgent care … folks are going back to their primary care providers.”

Where there has especially been a lot of traction in telehealth is with mental health, Carroll said.

“You can actually connect with a psychiatrist, psychiatric nurse practitioner or a family physician who is trained in mental health in less than six hours,” he said. “It takes eight weeks to see a psychiatrist in the brick-and-mortar world.”

But when it comes to where the healthcare industry is lacking with telehealth, Carroll said that “investment in quality sometimes wasn’t the first inclination.”

“I think sometimes for telehealth companies, they get into it and they may have a part-time chief medical officer or [quality] is not a big focus to start with,” he declared. “But it has to be because it’s healthcare. It’s not just tech. … You’ve got to start with quality. Build the structure so you can add on verticals, but still have that same quality structure in place.”

He said that to ensure Hims & Hers provides quality care, the company has three full-time nurse practitioners reviewing charts every day to know which providers are following guidelines, if their notes are easy to understand for the next provider and to make sure the right medications are being prescribed.

The company also reported its fourth quarter and full year 2023 financial results on Monday. It had a net income of $1.2 million in the fourth quarter of 2023, compared to a net loss of $10.9 million during the same period in 2022. For the full year, it had a $23.5 million net loss, versus a $65.7 million net loss in 2022. Its revenue for 2023 was $872 million. The company expects to surpass $1 billion in revenue in 2024 and have its first full year of net income profitability.

Hims & Hers has also expanded its service lines recently. In December, it launched a weight loss program and in August, it began offering men’s cardiovascular health treatment. In January, it announced a partnership with Hartford HealthCare to connect people to in-person care.

Photo: Alisa Zahoruiko, Getty Images