Root Cause Clinical was co-founded by Wil Fleeson, who took some time to share his journey with SalonEVO in this question and answer session.
What inspired you to set up Root Cause Clinical?
The idea of the Root Cause Clinical concept came to my mind when I started becoming more experienced in the field of trichology and I had a better understanding of the needs of men, women and children looking for credible and qualified information regarding their hair loss or scalp worries and anxieties.
It became clear to me that one of the biggest challenges for professional trichologists like myself was the lack of awareness within the general public that our specialism existed, or that it can be a useful alternative to going to a dermatologist.
The second biggest challenge was when people did become aware that there is such a thing as a trichologist to help them, it was not always easy to access one as there is not a significant number of qualified trichologists in the U.K.
My vision was to create a professional video clinic where people that are experiencing the emotional and physical impacts on confidence and self-esteem that hair loss can create, can gain access to specialists that really understand and cared about their well-being and offer them knowledgeable answers.
Tell us just a little bit about your background and why you are a crucial part in the Root Cause Clinical brand?
I have been in the hairdressing industry for over 35 years. I have always been passionate about my industry and the clients we serve within the hair industry.
As I started to become an older more experienced hairdresser, my clients were also ageing with me! They started to ask me more and more questions about concerns regarding thinning of hair, why their hair was falling out or why they had scalp irritations and I realised I couldn’t offer any accurate answers.
What I did understand very quickly was how much hair loss and scalp issues was really affecting my client’s self-confidence, and that for some clients the lack of a proper diagnosis and treatment could make things substantially worse. Looking for those answers directed me towards years of study to become a qualified trichologist.
During my education journey my clients would be asking me all about the science of trichology and what it entailed, and when I told them it is a branch of dermatology that specialises in hair loss and scalp problems, almost every time they said that when I qualified they knew somebody that would want to come and have an appointment with me. And true to their word, they did come!
It became clear very quickly that there was a huge number of people experiencing hair loss or scalp problems, but they were not getting any answers to these problems or did not know where to go or who to speak to get answers to these problems or they got answers after a very lengthy wait.
In 2017 I graduated after passing my final exams and I opened my first trichology clinic in Glasgow city centre, and this became busy very quickly and I had people coming to see me from far and wide. However, travelling to meet me in Glasgow was not always easy or convenient for everyone, and it was at this point I had the idea to create a video clinic for hair loss and scalp health that people could easily access no matter where they lived or where they were.
Root Cause Clinical was born and launched by myself and my business partner Victoria Russell who has a digital and management consultant background. We both bring different experience and knowledge to the Root Cause Clinical concept, but our values are the same.
My role is very much in the consultation process, science development and connection of practitioners wanting to be part of the growth of the project.
How effective do you think the Root Cause Clinical concept or service will be in helping clients to find out the underlying issue with their scalp and hair loss problems?
I have already had the experience of how effective telehealth services can be for people looking for diagnosis or solutions for hair loss and scalp problems, as I used video consultation extensively through the lockdown’s of 2020 and 2021 when people were still looking for answers but could not access a physical clinic.
What I discovered was the amount of knowledge and advice I could offer with a likely diagnosis on what the hair or scalp concern condition is, and what would be the most effective treatment pathway to explore. The added genetic service for certain hair loss conditions provide greater effectiveness for treatments.
My clients were coming away feeling that not only had they been listened to, but they now also had an idea what was likely to be the problem and what treatments they could investigate for effective solutions. All without a lengthy delay or travel.
Root Cause Clinical is investing significant amounts to continually add to our scientific knowledge and also for the development of video communication skills to provide a Root Cause Clinical standard. This will allow clients using our video service to be confident any practitioner in our community will have relevant knowledge and a comfortable manner to help clients navigate their health journey.
My experience of video consultations has been it is an easy and convenient way for people to start the conversation about what is worrying them about their hair or scalp and what is recommended they should do next to treat those concerns.
What is the advantage for salons and salon owners to promoting Root Cause Clinical to their clients?
Being a hairdresser myself I completely understand how much clients talk confidentially to the hairdresser about their concerns and how they feel about their hair. Sometimes hairdressers notice differences in their client’s hair and scalp that they may not even have noticed.
I also understand as hairdressers we build incredible relationships with our clients and naturally, we are the type of person that always wants to help them and make them feel good about themselves. It was having this background that put me on the journey towards trichology in the first place and the thought of having a trusted partner that I could recommend my clients to, to get the advice and information that was needed to help solve their hair or scalp problem.
Hairdressers can be confident that the clients they recommend to Root Cause Clinical will be looked after every bit as well as they would expect to be looked after in the salon. We see any referral as a partnership where we work together to help their client.
We also encourage clients using the video service to share their report and likely diagnosis with their hairdresser, making them part of the journey, as we see hairdressers as a fundamental part of monitoring any improvements with the hair density or scalp condition when they make salon visits.
In my experience hairdressers love to learn and discussing the findings of a video consultation with their clients and the likely diagnosis and treatment pathway that has been recommended will also give the hairdresser more experience and what different conditions look like and how they are treated.
This of course can only build even more trust and loyalty from clients with their hairdressers as they know their stylist cares enough to put them in touch with the right people.
How can hairdressers encourage their clients to open up more about any hair concerns they may have such as hair loss?
The conversation around hair loss is now becoming more open and curious. With my own hairdressing clients if I feel there is some potential concerns over the thickness of the hair I often just ask the simple question of ‘how do they feel about the thickness of their hair at that moment in time?’ In my experience if my client is feeling concerned then at that point there’s almost a look of relief and they start to discuss their concerns about their hair thickness.
I truly believe the hairdressers are probably the best placed people to discuss hair loss with their clients, because hairdressers understand how emotionally attached we are to how our hair looks and feels.
What kind of information is included in the report clients receive from Root Cause Clinical following their consultation?
The Root Cause Clinical consultation reports our clients receive within 48 hours are designed to be easy to understand and offers comprehensive detail and direction for potential treatment pathways.
The reports cover several steps as below.
Step 1 is the clarification of the hair loss or scalp problem through symptoms.
Step 2 covers the likely diagnosis of what is causing the hair or scalp condition
Step 3 would go over the medium or long term impact of the condition.
Step 4 would go through the professional suggestions on which treatment pathways would be potentially most effective to improve the condition.
Step 5 would go through potential recommendations of other options that the client could explore. We are independent trusted advisers so all treatment pathway advice that is given is from a neutral perspective.
We’ve designed the reports to be a useful factsheet that can be shared with the clients hairdresser, medical doctors, dermatologists for other healthcare providers that can assist in improving the clients condition.
Are there any alternatives to Root Cause Clinical in the market currently? What is Root Cause Clinical USPs?
Our unique selling point is a service with a guaranteed standard of expertise and care that can be accessed quickly and easily.
We are a trusted and independent advisor who will offer choice and transparency with suggested treatments.
What is the future/what’s next for Root Cause Clinical?
Our vision is to offer this service globally with a community of passionate trichologists all delivering to the Root Cause Clinical standard. We will continue our investment in education and exploring how to work with researchers to help solve more hair loss and scalp conditions for future generations. Genetics and data will help drive our professional service and give us insights into the confit tons of today and the solutions of tomorrow.