Nurx: Healthcare Finally Revolutionized!

Nurx, like many other telehealth companies, witnessed exceptional growth in demand given their convenient do-it-at-home services that perfectly fit the current context. Nurx's success is here to stay given the disruptive and customer-centric nature of their services

In July 2020, I created my account with Nurx, after the pandemic started and HUHS labs shut down their operations due to Covid. I did not stop using their services since then and I doubt I will be switching back any time soon, even after the pandemic is over.

Prior to the pandemic, the healthcare industry was already witnessing a shift to telehealth and do-it-at-home services. However, the adoption was not high due to trust/ perception issues as well as patients’ habits. The pandemic has accelerated that adoption for multiple reasons. First, some healthcare service providers shut down their regular operations due to Covid restrictions and people like me were forced to seek consultation elsewhere. Second, people preferences were shifting towards safer and more convenient provision that fits within their schedule and that does not require a physical visit to clinics and hospitals. Enter Nurx!

Nurx is a DTC (direct to consumer) digital health startup that offers medical services that mainly focus on sex-related medical issues (birth control, Prep, STI testing, etc.). The startup expanded recently into other areas such as Migraine. Nurx was founded in 2015 and offers a one-stop-shop for healthcare services – from consultation to treatment to prescription and prescription fulfillment as well as dealing with insurance.

Their business model relies mainly on charging minimal fees for customers for medical consultation (e.g. 15$ for birth control medication or prep consultation) as well as charging fees from their partners and insurance companies. They partner with labs for testing fulfillment and pharmacies for prescription fulfillment. The entire experience is centered around the customer. Customer consultation is all online (no need for any physical visit), tests and prescriptions are sent to the customer’s home address and tests are self-administered and returned through the closest postal service. Insurance is dealt with by the company.

In fact, Nurx is one of the very few DTC digital health companies to accept insurance. Furthermore, they are working with insurance companies to cover their consultation fees making it free for their customers to seek their services. Additionally, their response time is usually quick for any question or request. Across different customer touchpoints, the company shows that it cares about the customer first, something that is really needed in the healthcare industry.

While Nurx is not the only player in the telehealth industry, their general strategy has been to slowly expand into new diseases that require continuous support (not one time only) and build specialization in the treatment of these diseases. Building good relationships with their customers is key to maintain retention.

In August 2022, Nurx raised $22.4 Mn in Series C financing round. Back then, the year on year growth was 100% and the startup was on track to generate $ 150 Mn in revenues and expected to become profitable by early 2021. Demand for a lot of its services has seen tremendous growth. For example, demand for birth control increased by 75% with 250,000 new requests.

That being said, I believe that Nurx is one of the clear winners of the pandemic. Not only did the adoption of their services increase given the pandemic, but their value proposition is also so strong that a big portion of their customers will not switch back post-pandemic (including me). The convenience of their service (be it home delivery of tests and prescriptions, or dealing with insurance, or superior customer experience) is extremely attractive, particularly in an industry that is known to have suboptimal customer experience (hospital/clinic waiting times, insurance problems, etc.). Additionally, the customer trust that they build through their reliable service resolves one major issue with digital healthcare adoption – customer perception. In case they do manage to make consultation free for customers and paid by insurance, I see no reason whatsoever for anyone to switch back from Nurx to the old ways of getting healthcare.

It is extremely important to highlight that this kind of customer-centric service is highly disruptive for the healthcare industry that has been operating in the same fashion for years, with suboptimal customer experience. While Nurx is limited to certain types of medical services, the model they follow is by itself revolutionizing and can be adopted for more medical issues. While the pandemic definitely played a role in improving the adoption of Nurx, the impact and success of Nurx will definitely extend beyond the pandemic. I for once will always be a loyal customer. This is healthcare revolutionized! Will you join the revolution?

 

Sources:

Nurx Official Website – https://www.nurx.com/

Landi, Heather.  “Nurx raises another $22M with plans to be profitable by early 2021.” Fierce Healthcare, 11 August 2020. https://www.fiercehealthcare.com/tech/women-s-health-startup-nurx-raises-another-22m-plans-to-be-profitable-by-early-2021

Schieber, Jonathan.  “Telehealth startup Nurx focused on women’s health raises $22M Series C.” Techcrunch, 11 August 2020. https://techcrunch.com/2020/08/11/nurx-has-22-5-million-in-new-money-a-path-to-profitability-and-new-treatments-for-migraines-on-the-way/#:~:text=the%20way%20%7C%20TechCrunch-,Nurx%20has%20%2422.5%20million%20in%20new%20money%2C%20a%20path%20to,for%20migraines%20on%20the%20way&text=As%20the%20COVID%2D19%20epidemic,a%20huge%20spike%20in%20demand.

Bali, Eren. “Telehealth Low Adoption Have You Shaking Your Head? Here’s Why It Makes Sense.” Inside Digital Health, 10 January 2019.
https://www.idigitalhealth.com/news/telehealth-low-adoption-have-you-shaking-your-head-heres-why-it-makes-sense

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Student comments on Nurx: Healthcare Finally Revolutionized!

  1. One really interesting roadblock that telehealth, or even similar services like televet, faced before the pandemic was an issue of regulation – specifically, whether or not virtual visits would be reimbursable by insurers and whether or not practitioners can practice across state lines. When the pandemic hit, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services relaxed its policies on payments for virtual care, leading the way for many private insurers to follow. In addition, federal and state regulation on practicing across state borders were relaxed. However, there are no guarantees those relaxations will last. What will be really interesting to watch in the coming months and years will be how pure telehealth players like Nurx can maintain its customer base profitably if insurers decide to take less of those costs on. I think the most important strategic question it can answer now is which specialties and services will be the most safeguarded against changes in insurance and regulatory policies, either by being already uncovered areas where customers are used to paying, or services that are so low cost to serve that customers are able to cover the incremental cost themselves.

    1. Yeah agreed that there is a risk of reversing all these relaxations. Somehow it feels counter progressive. Healthcare in general in the US needs disruption – the way it is provided today has a lot of customer pain points and issues across touch-points. While the risk is there, the move to reverse these progressive relaxations and regulations will be hard to execute.
      Even if they did happen, I think Nurx offers a great example of how healthcare should be revolutionized to be customer-centric, customers should start expecting superior service from all their healthcare providers and move the entire industry forward.

  2. I think the key to success for companies like Nurx is making healthcare that is based on standardized algorithms. However, the barrier to entry is relatively low and the market is becoming crowded with players like Lemonaid Health, hims/hers, Pill, roman, among several others establishing large customer bases. I am curious to see how many of the companies born out of this pandemic will still be there a year or two from now.

    1. Agreed that the barriers to entry are low. I think the strategy of Nurx is to specialize in certain diseases only and not go for width in services mix. That way they will be the leaders in certain areas only. Their customer experience is honestly what makes them so differentiated, very easy access to consultation and prescription and what have you – I literally did everything from home, did not need to go anywhere and it was so quick and so smooth. This CEX is something traditional healthcare institutions will find hard to replicate with rigid organizations and processes. I do believe that the pandemic helped them increase their customer base and break the barrier of telehealth prior to the pandemic and that the superior customer experience will keep customers coming back.

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