Dermatologist Offers Service That's Just a Click Away

MAY 11, 2016
Ed Rabinowitz
David Soleymani, dermatology, technology, practice management, dermioIf you grew up in or around New York City, or many other large cities for that matter, you’re probably used to finding a diner open 24/7. That’s not unusual. Neither are automated bank machines.
But a dermatologist? It’s not the first profession that might come to mind when you think of 24/7 service, but thanks to A. David Soleymani, MD, FAAD, a consultation with a dermatologist is never more than a click away. Soleymani has founded Dermio, a tele-dermatology app that allows patients anywhere to receive a virtual consultation by sending in a picture of their skin tissue.
And it’s not just for busy professionals.
“There’s a whole segment of the population that is completely underserved,” Soleymani says. “Whether it’s the senior population with limited mobility, or people living in rural communities, there are so many segments that can’t get access to quality dermatology.”
Now they can—anytime, anywhere.
Career Panic
Soleymani says his journey to a career in medicine is, in some ways, not unlike others before him. His father was an OB/GYN, and Soleymani acknowledges that growing up in that environment, he “just wanted to help people.” But that’s where the similarities end.
As Soleymani neared completion of his fourth year in medical school, having vacillated between pediatrics, plastic surgery, and family medicine, he was still undecided about what type of physician he wanted to be.
“I started to panic,” he recalls. “I wondered if I was going to become a doctor at all.”
It was suggested he take dermatology as a rotation to study for his exams. He did, but admits that previous to that he often wondered, “Why would anyone go into dermatology?” All that changed as he moved through the rotation.
“I ended up loving the subject matter, the patients, the colleagues, and the camaraderie that they had,” Soleymani says. “They all seemed to share similar interests and passions. It became a perfect serendipitous fit for me.”
After becoming board certified, Soleymani practiced and was assistant clinical professor in dermatology at Northwestern University in downtown Chicago for 10 years. But he would eventually follow his Hoosier roots back to Indiana.
“Chicago is a fairly saturated market for dermatology,” he explains. “And I came to recognize that there’s a greater need for dermatologists [in Munster, IN]. I’d be able to offer this population care that they otherwise wouldn’t receive locally.”
And that’s where the idea for Dermio 24/7 was born.
Gaining Trust
Soleymani says there are many challenges developing and then launching an app like Dermio. But perhaps the biggest challenge—after becoming HIPAA compliant and hiring the right people—is gaining the general public’s trust.
“There’s a lot of hype behind telemedicine, and there’s a lot of investment going into it,” he says. “But the patient side hasn’t really caught up with all the hype that’s behind telemedicine. We’re trying to find a way to sort of unlock the code to gain patients’ trust that, yes, you can actually receive quality medical care through your phone, or through your web site.”

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