Telemedicine in Dermatology: The Dos, Don’ts and Best Practices
By adding telemedicine, dermatologists can extend access to care while increasing the number of encounters that they can complete in a single day. Dermatology telemedicine services offer reduced wait times, increased schedule flexibility and high patient satisfaction.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, “The technology has reached a point where, in many situations, health care providers can use IT to offer quality health care services remotely,” and they support telemedicine as an additional treatment tool to supplement in-person services.
“The Academy supports the appropriate use of telemedicine as a means of improving access to the expertise of Board-certified dermatologists to provide high-quality, high-value care. Telemedicine can also serve to improve patient care coordination and communication between other specialties and dermatology.”
Manage Chronic Conditions
Add convenience to routine follow-ups by offering dermatology telemedicine services to patients for medication refills, lab results, imaging reviews and chronic illness management. Telemedicine is valuable for patients who lack transportation, and it simplifies visits for prescription refills.
Store-And-Forward for Simplicity
For mild or non-acute issues, store-and-forward telemedicine enables patients and providers to share images back and forth for review by the provider when appropriate. Patients can share an image of their abrasion or skin illness, and the provider can make an assessment upon review. This can considerably reduce the time for diagnosis and treatment. Consults are frequently provided via teledermatology where images are provided and reviewed at a later time.
Consult Without Leaving the Office
Dermatologists can consult almost instantly when requested by a referring provider. Patients can be evaluated using the best telemedicine software while still in the primary care office or while hospitalized. Dermatology telemedicine services make treatment by specialists more accessible to patients in rural areas, and patients without transportation or in underserved areas benefit considerably.
Get Paid for After-hours Work
By replacing after-hours phone calls with on-call telemedicine appointments, providers can create billable encounters from phone calls that are not considered reimbursable.
Make Follow-Ups a Breeze
Patients who are on medication maintenance, who are following up on a recent illness, or who need lab results may not require an in-person examination. Telemedicine makes it possible to quickly see these patients in succession while offering considerable convenience for the patient.
Higher Patient Satisfaction
Telemedicine services have a 95 percent satisfaction rating overall, according to a study completed by the General Journal of Internal Medicine. Patients report that they enjoy the convenience and flexibility.
Improve Provider Flexibility
Providers can treat patients from anywhere using the telemedicine platforms, which offers an unprecedented level of flexibility for those who travel, see patients in multiple locations or manage frequent emergencies.
What Do I Need to Get Started?
It’s possible to get started with dermatology telemedicine services without purchasing any new hardware. By working with a platform like Mend, providers and patients can connect using any device with a front-facing camera, microphone and Internet connection.
What Diagnoses are Appropriate for Treatment via Telemedicine?
There is no definitive answer to this question because it varies considerably by physician and specialty. Every provider will have a different list of diagnoses that he or she is comfortable treating virtually. According to an article in JAMA Dermatology, telemedicine is appropriate for treatment of:
- Viral skin lesions
- Skin cancer follow up
- Pigmented lesions
- Biopsy follow up
- Disease management
- Common diagnoses
The American Telemedicine Association supports additional consults for:
- Preventative care
- Smoking Cessation
- Physical Activity
Again, every provider will have a different standard, and it’s only recommended that providers treat diagnoses that they feel most comfortable with treating through telemedicine. Telemedicine doesn’t replace all in-person care, but it is an excellent supplement for the conditions that providers feel they can effectively treat virtually.
What Shouldn’t Be Treated via Telemedicine?
This will also vary considerably per provider, but the American Telemedicine Association cautions against treating patients who require “aggressive intervention” and “protocol driven procedures” such as:
- Cognitive disorders
- Severe language barriers
- Emergent rather than urgent complaints
What Sets Mend Apart for Dermatologists
Patients log in with just a birthdate.
Fully HIPAA Compliant and Secure
Mend surpasses the minimum requirements for the American Telemedicine Association and state recommendations.
Unmatched Connection Rates
Mend has a 99.85 percent successful connection rate.
Complimentary, Unlimited Support
Patients, staff and provider can receive instant, in-house support whenever they need it
No User Names or Passwords
Patients log in to their sessions with only a birthdate.
Patients and providers can connect from any device with an internet connection, microphone and camera. There is no software to download.
Flexible Scheduling Options
Mend offers multiple solutions for scheduling including staff scheduling, patient-initiated scheduling via website link or a combination of both solutions.
Mend’s customized telemedicine triage ensures that only patients who meet the practice’s criteria for telemedicine can schedule appointments. This keeps telemedicine safe.
Customized intake paperwork
Automate your front office with fully customized intake paperwork, demographic updates, forms and consents that can be pushed out manually or automatically sent based on appointment type.
Telemedicine is the future of healthcare. Mend is the future of telemedicine. Get a demo now.
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