The In’s And Out’s Of Teledermatology Services

Photo Credit: ShutterstockDating back to the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, the world went into a shutdown, and this did not exclude doctor’s offices. In need of another option for healthcare, they went online, sparking the teledermatology trend that has, in fact, stayed for the long haul. Here, Haute Beauty expert Dr. Anna Chacon shares teledermatology's goals, services, and benefits.

What is the goal of teledermatology?

Teledermatology is a subspecialty within dermatology and one of the most popular and convenient ways to see a dermatologist. In this field, telecommunication technology is used to transfer medical information over a distance through communication by audio, visual, and data means. Teledermatology is a virtual and modern way of seeing your dermatologist online with the use of the internet, either through video visits (live, synchronous) or store and forward visits, during which the patient sends a photo. The photo is evaluated by a dermatologist.

What are the services you offer on teledermatology?

Teledermatology allows us to use different platforms to help diagnose and treat patients. I offer photo visits and video visits to all my patients. The patient's photos are submitted and taken with a photo visit, usually on an iPhone, uploaded, and submitted as a consultation. Photo visits offer 24/7 access to the dermatologist for a consultation for a skin issue or prescription refill. With a video visit, you schedule your appointment through a scheduling system, and a zoom link is generated. This visit is ideal if you would prefer a live chat with your dermatologist; after the virtual visit, your dermatologist will send you a personalized, detailed treatment plan and send the prescriptions (if medically necessary) to your preferred pharmacy.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

What can not be diagnosed through teledermatology?

We treat all skin, hair, and nail conditions using our best expertise. If an in-person office visit with a dermatologist is recommended, this will be suggested during your visit. We are unable to perform necessary biopsies and procedures for specific conditions virtually.

Have there been any challenges you’ve overcome in teledermatology?

Sometimes there is an unstable internet connection. We have a secure HIPAA-compliant portal where we invite patients to upload their photos. We also have a very easy-to-use EMR (electronic medical record) that facilitates analyzing difficult cases beforehand and following up with them.

Who benefits the most from teledermatology?

I believe teledermatology benefits anyone who needs a dermatologist but focuses more on patients who have a busy schedule in school, live in a rural area where access to a dermatologist is limited and are in need of immediate medical attention. Modern-day technology allows us to use our smartphones and join a meeting virtually anywhere. With busy work and school schedules, being able to schedule a 15-minute visit via your smartphone is very convenient.

What are the pros of teledermatology?

Teledermatology comes with a significant number of benefits. A few of these benefits include reduced wait times, convenience, an increase in access for people in rural areas, and improvement in patient satisfaction. Patients will avoid the inconvenience of commuting, and be in the comfort of their own homes. With teledermatology, wait times are often significantly reduced. You can schedule your appointment on the go at your convenience.

For more information, visit Dr. Anna Chacon's social media: