Kyle Rao, President of Secure Medical, shares how LegitScript Certification helped his company come into compliance and open doors. With more than 21 years in business, Secure Medical is one of the longest-standing online prescribers of medication.
As the technology and medical industries converged in the early 2000s, Secure Medical established itself as one of the first fully functional telemedicine companies. Today, the company offers lifestyle medication, urgent care telemedicine, and strategic pharmaceutical partnerships.
Early in its business, Secure Medical had been flagged by LegitScript for issues of noncompliance. By working with LegitScript’s policy experts, the company resolved their issues. The company’s brands, including edrugstore.com and healthymale.com, became probationary certified, and ultimately earned full certification.
In the following Q&A, Kyle talks about his decision to apply for LegitScript Certification for Secure Medical, and how coming into compliance has helped to build a stronger, more successful business.
What do you do at Secure Medical, and what is your professional background?
I spent most of my time at Secure Medical working the floor and building an operational team I can trust. I believe that people who lead from the front establish a precedent that we are all one cohesive unit. Even as President, I still take customer service calls, although at a reduced capacity as my efforts are now, more than ever, focused on our future.
With a master’s degree in business, experience has taught me far more than any classroom ever could. The ebb and flow of the telemedicine market have taught me everything I know. Many obstacles that I’ve faced in that past, most telemedicine companies have not had to endure. These challenges have left me with a much better understanding of business and how to prosper when things seem bleak.
Years ago, Secure Medical was under the scrutiny of LegitScript for noncompliance. What issues were called out, and what was your response at the time?
There was indeed a period several years ago where the previous compliance officer at the time ignored LegitScript’s requests for information about doctors and pharmacies. Secure Medical was young and, during this time, the previous officer in charge chose to ignore requests from certain agencies instead of being proactive and bringing Secure Medical into compliance. That was an error on our part. If we would’ve applied for the LegitScript Certification sooner, it would’ve opened more doors. Our motto has always been “Safety and Security” — hence, our name and website, securemedical.com.
What changed for you? What prompted Secure Medical to want to get LegitScript-certified?
The main thing that tipped the scales was the fact that our industry is now recognizing LegitScript as the authority. It’s no more or less complicated than that. As pioneers of the trade, we strive each day to provide a safe and secure platform for our users. Patients and providers can trust and rely on our services as well as provide effective treatment plans. LegitScript was the missing link. Obtaining LegitScript certification was also a step in the right direction for preemptive measures to ensure constant regulatory compliance.
How was the certification process for you?
The certification process was seamless and to the point. It was also a learning process for Secure Medical’s organization as a whole. Providing LegitScript with the information they requested allowed us to understand state, medical, and pharmaceutical regulation better. We've implemented tools and features to help our organization grow in ways we wouldn’t have thought about before getting certified.
Did you fix issues LegitScript had identified before applying for the certification?
Absolutely. We started on probationary status as a result of prior business practices. We worked day and night to ensure we rolled out robust changes, including hiring a slew of new, state-licensed medical professionals. We are now proud to say we serve most of the US at this time. We learned from our mistakes and, more importantly, we implemented measures to ensure we will never overstep any new or current regulations.
Why is certification so important for the telemedicine industry in particular?
Certification serves as a foundation of trust among telemedicine companies and their patients. The quality of care received at telemedicine companies has long been a debate. Can cameras and smartphones capture the same quality of care that a physical exam can? At Secure Medical, we believe they can. Through LegitScript, industry standards help establish the quality of care. They help develop the requirements to ensure patients are being adequately screened and treated.
Does LegitScript Certification help prospective customers know that your operation is reliable and trustworthy?
For informed customers, this certification can be a massive seal of approval. For the uninformed customers, we have created new training regimens for our customer service representatives. They serve as the face of our company and are often the first ones to educate customers on smart buying practices, as well as how to identify potential red flags from imitation vendors. The LegitScript certification has become a staple in nearly every conversation when customers ask about our legitimacy.
Any advice for other telemedicine, pharmaceutical, and healthcare providers considering LegitScript Certification?
LegitScript certification is not only an industry standard, but it is also quickly becoming a disqualifying factor for many buyers. Websites without proper compliance are continually passed over for those that are. Companies that remain uncertified are risking ruin as regulations catch up with the curve. New markets are always extremely volatile, and as telemedicine grows, regulatory management will only increase from this point. Taking the right step to ensure compliance should be at the top of your list.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Applying for the LegitScript safety seal is a must-have for any online or brick-and-mortar facilitator. Our industry needs to be about providing a safe platform that people can trust over advertising, profit margins, or certification, and that's what we do here at Secure Medical.