What is Teledermatology and Why is it Perfect During these Crazy Times?

On Saturday, after a hard day of yard work around the house, you go to take a shower. While drying off, you notice that your elbows still have a rash that occasionally itches. You were unable to take time off work to go to the dermatologist’s office. Now, you are wondering if there is a way to see the dermatologist while you are at home. Most doctor offices are closed because of COVID-19 and social distancing. You want and need to seek medical advice. Your skin issue won’t wait, and the good news is you don’t have to. APDerm’s dermatology practices now offer Teledermatology—a virtual visit, from the safety and comfort of your home.

Teledermatology Background

Dermatology is a visual field in medicine. During training, dermatologists study photograph libraries, called Kodachromes, with thousands of pictures of diagnoses to understand skin, hair, and nail diseases. While the in-person clinical exam remains an important part of evaluating a patient, dermatology has been able to adapt to care for patients remotely using the ever-improving technology platforms that are available. With higher camera resolutions and widespread use of video technology for many patients, dermatologists can see more patients remotely, using Teledermatology, especially in this unprecedented time of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Telederm has been around for decades. In fact, many patients around the country already receive their dermatology care from a dermatology clinician who could be miles away. Others of you may have sent your photos to your dermatology clinicians, along with the details behind your medical issue. If you then received treatment and/or counseling about your issue, you had a Telederm visit! Many entrepreneurs have tried to create websites and apps to replace dermatology care over the last decades, but these companies have not had huge success. This is because a visit with a board-certified dermatology physician along with nurse practitioners and physician assistants who work with them is much more than the technology platform.

Teledermatology at APDerm

At APDerm, the Telederm visit gets the same attention and care as a regular office visit. There is an intake process where a medical assistant receives the photos and the history behind the dermatological problem and other past medical histories. The patient can then interact with their dermatology clinician using the phone or video chat application of their choice. After the plan is made, the patient can receive their medication in their pharmacy of choice. If the clinician suggests an in-person procedure or evaluation, the patient has the option of going to any APDerm location that is most convenient to them in a timely manner. Another great benefit is that many insurance companies have waived the copay of the visits because they understand the financial strain that the pandemic has placed on many patients. Therefore, having a Telederm visit now is a great way to address your skin, hair, and nail concerns as we all wait for the pandemic to flatten out.

What do Patients Think of Teledermatology?

For me, seeing Telederm patients has been a dream come true. During my medical education, I did a lot of research and wrote many articles about how to incorporate Telederm patients into usual clinical practice. There are many benefits to patients, which include saving travel time to the doctor’s office and getting treatment very quickly. My current patients love it because it saves them time, and they can see me from the safety and comfort of their home. In fact, Jill said that “It was very nice to put my fears at ease during the COVID 19 crisis. After sending photos and discussing the situation with my provider, she was able to order a prescription.” Richard remarked “The process of scheduling an appointment and sending pictures of my problem was very easy. I received a call from my dermatologist and she discussed a treatment plan for me to follow. ALL SO EASY.” .”

I have treated patients with acne, itching, psoriasis, eczema, rosacea, superficial skin cancers, and much more! Similarly, I have seen new patients through the Telederm platform, and these patients have improved over the course of the last month already. It is true that not all dermatology visits are appropriate for Telederm, such as full-body skin exams or rashes that need to be felt for their texture. If I determine that the patient still needs to be seen in-person, I refer them to our urgent clinics or regular clinics (once opened) based on the medical need. With this unprecedented and challenging COVID-19 pandemic, I have been pleased to continue to serve my patients through our Telederm platform.

We are here to help you with all your dermatology needs during this crisis and after. Please reach out to us by either calling (978) 707-6208 or by filling out the form below.

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