Is a Virtual Dermatologist Right for You?
If you are dealing with skin issues and don’t want to wait weeks for an appointment, or have a rigorous schedule that makes in-office visits difficult, teledermatology might the perfect answer.
What Is Teledermatology
This is a broad term than encompasses a lot. For virtual dermatology it involves snapping a few photos and sending it to your dermatologist.
Then the dermatologist will examine the images and review your symptoms. Within a day or two you will receive a diagnosis and recommended treatment plan.
These app-based services range in price but the benefits make them a popular choice for many people.
Who wouldn’t want to get a diagnosis in the comfort of their own home? It is a simple, fast, and convenient way to examine rashes, growths, and even Athlete’s foot.
Accuracy of Virtual Dermatology
While this service is great and will undoubtedly help many people, it does have its limits. On one hand, teledermatology helps your provider communicate with your primary care providers and ensure you receive the best care.
However, the direct to consumer services rely on the images you send and your description of the skin problem. This can cause some issues with the accuracy of your diagnosis.
Some providers also worry about the lack of transparency and lack of patient medical records through these app services. People with medical problems, or people who take medication daily might not be the best candidates for internet-only service.
Fast Turnaround Time
Most of these services offer a very quick turnaround. Typically, within a day or two of submitting your information, you will receive a response.
Shortage of Dermatologist
There is a shortage of dermatologists in the U.S. A study estimated that for every 1 million people in America, there are only 36 practicing dermatologist. This means most people don’t have access to the care they need. Virtual dermatology can bridge this gap and allow more people to receive care.
Benefits of Virtual Dermatologist
There are many benefits of virtual dermatology beyond just reaching more patients. This also allow vulnerable populations to access dermatologists. Those who are immunocompromised, home bound, or using insurance that limits in office treatment will benefit greatly from this service.
While there are still various models of care, health systems make take a different approach. This would be in the form of patient portals that lead directly to online dermatologists. This would allow the provider to have access to the patient’s electronic medical records.
This high-quality form of teledermatology promotes accountability and complements in-person care while keeping your primary care provider in the know.
“Like anything else, teledermatology can be deployed well or poorly,” Dr. Jack Resneck Jr., a professor and vice-chair of the dermatology department at the University of California, San Francisco, wrote in an email. “When telemedicine allows patients to follow up more easily with a dermatologist who knows them and their history, it can be incredibly convenient and provide highly coordinated care.”
By allowing for quick second opinions from one clinician to another, teledermatology can be “incredibly useful,” says Resneck, who is also the chair-elect of the American Medical Association’s board of trustees. Some patients will require additional testing or treatment in person, he adds, and telemedicine can facilitate that process.
However, Resneck encourages patients to be cautious when venturing online independently to seek care. He emphasizes: “Some of the other uses patients might find on the internet are providing fragmented, low-quality care for convenience.”
Virtual Dermatologist at DermUtopia
If you are interested in getting your dermatology issue examined through virtual means, you can download our app to get started today. If you have further questions, or prefer an in-office visit, contact DermUtopia today!