Can Telehealth Work for Dermatology?
- Posted on: Jun 30 2020
The way we are living today feels almost entirely different than it did at the beginning of the year. The majority of us have been indoors for months. The services that we enjoyed in person have been halted to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Still, while navigating prevention and safety, we have to address the fact that other health matters need attention. Unless it is an emergency, most people are not going to their doctors’ offices. One of the ways healthcare is being refined is through telehealth, or telemedicine. Even as we see more services become available in person, we see value in continuing to offer our patients the option of virtual visits.
The Rise of Telemedicine
Telemedicine and telehealth are two terms commonly used to describe virtual doctor’s visits. These visits may be conducted in a variety of ways. Usually, doctors see patients through some sort of video chat. In some situations, a phone consult is sufficient. However, we are committed to maintaining a high standard of relating to patients, and, face-to-face visits, even through a computer screen, supports this. Also, dermatology is an area of medicine that largely relies on visual examination. With this in mind, many patients wonder if telehealth can be efficient at managing their dermatologic health. It absolutely can.
Teledermatology in Action
Telehealth visits can provide a touchpoint for doctors and patients to maintain an existing treatment plan. For example, if you are being treated for a chronic skin condition such as acne, you can chat with your doctor periodically just as you would by coming into the office. This provides the data needed to maintain adequate medication dosing over time. But what if you need to see a doctor for a new condition? Would a televisit be effective?
While dermatology is a highly visual field, we’re finding that telehealth has its place here. Patients who are experiencing symptoms such as a rash, discoloration, itching, or other concerns can be helped by a video call with a dermatologist. Many of the most common conditions diagnosed by a dermatologist can be identified without the use of special instruments or tests. Examples include psoriasis, eczema, poison ivy, shingles, and contact dermatitis.
Making the Most of Telemedicine for Healthy Skin
You needn’t put off seeing a dermatologist if you’re experiencing symptoms. You can prepare for your visit by preparing a quiet, well-lit space where you will not be disturbed and where you can expose the area of skin involved. Make sure your skin is clean and not covered by makeup, and that you have contact information for a pharmacy in case your doctor needs to call in a prescription.