Dermatology Telemedicine 101: How Avail Dermatology Is Helping Patients During The Coronavirus Pandemic
We at Avail Dermatology understand that this is a complex, uncertain time for our patients and community members. That’s why we’re committed to providing dermatology care in a manner that is safe, effective, and comforting for our patients. One of the primary methods for accomplishing this is through telemedicine, also known as “online healthcare.” This process allows us to continue communicating with and supporting our patients, while also implementing safety best practices that protect everyone, including our staff.
Curious about how these telemedicine visits work? Keep reading to learn more.
How Do Telemedicine Visits Work?
Telemedicine uses a high-quality video conferencing system designed specifically for dermatology care. It is secure and compliant with the Federal privacy guidelines (“HIPAA”) to protect your personal health information. This system allows our dermatology providers to speak with you and see your skin in real-time. It uses your personal cell phone (with a high-resolution camera—almost all phones have these now), or a laptop or PC equipped with a webcam and microphone.
Both new and existing patients can call 770-251-5111 to schedule a telemedicine appointment. Our practice uses a program called Pocket Patient; a free, secure, dynamic, and universally accessible digital health platform. Once the appointment has been scheduled, patients can expect the following process to occur:
Once your connection is established, you will be able to see your provider and ask questions. The provider will converse with you and may ask you to use your camera to “zoom in” on the areas that are a concern. After evaluation, the provider will make an assessment, discuss the diagnosis with you, and can prescribe medications for you if appropriate.
What Can We Treat Through Telemedicine?
While dermatology is an extremely hands-on medical practice, there still are many ailments we can treat through telemedicine. Such examples include:
- Rashes and skin breakouts. Both new and existing rashes need to be rechecked. These would include:
- Acne, rosacea and other breakouts
- Allergic skin rashes including Poison Ivy
- Other itchy and uncomfortable skin conditions including “athlete’s foot,” “jock itch,” “heat rashes,” etc.
- Individual skin lesions.
- While telemedicine is not suited for “full-body” and “upper-body” scans or mole checks as it is too difficult to “see” the entire body using a phone camera—it can be a useful way to evaluate one or a few worrisome skin lesions. In many cases, a diagnosis can be made, or at the least, a determination of whether the lesion is worrisome enough to require an immediate office visit, or if it can be delayed until the COVID-19 restrictions are relaxed.
The Benefits of Telemedicine
Right now, telemedicine is essential in the fight to lessen the spread of coronavirus. However, we understand that other healthcare needs don’t stop just because we’re sheltering-in-place. That’s where telemedicine comes in.
By lessening the amount of in-person contact that would take place in our offices, while also still providing access to dermatology experts, we’re able to significantly rescue the likelihood that COVID-19 is spread
Aside from preventing the spread of coronavirus, telemedicine is also fantastic for:
- Giving those who have decreased mobility an opportunity to speak with a physician.
- Supporting people who have extreme anxiety or other mental health issues by eliminating the stress of going to a physical office.
- Reducing the amount of time, money, and other resources necessary to visit the doctor, opening up the experience to others who previously couldn’t afford it.
- Working with those who have more strict schedules and aren’t able to take off time to visit the doctor.
Some Avail Dermatology Office Are Still Open
All this being said, there are certain services and treatments that must be done in person. We are committed to still seeing these patients in-person when necessary. Both our Newnan and Peachtree City officers are still open for these needs. Currently, our Carrollton office is only taking telemedicine appointments.
Conditions that will likely require an in-person visit include: skin growths that are painful, bleeding, draining, or that have suddenly and rapidly enlarged or changed in appearance
If you do need to make an in-person visit to either of our open offices, please be sure to reference our blog outlining recommended precautions you should take.
The experts at Avail Dermatology are here to assist you through these troubling times. If you have any further questions or want to speak to our staff, click here to reach out or give us a call at 770-929-9033