As COVID-19 continues to complicate our lives, many have started to take better care of themselves. Teledermatology is one of the things that we are paying more attention to.
What is teledermatology?
Telemedicine is a modern technology that supports patients’ health at a distance and with the pandemic happening everywhere, distance is what we must practice actively. Dermatology, a heavily visual-dependent specialty, is actually the most compatible with telemedicine. In numerous research and studies, the effectiveness and reliability of teledermatology has been proven. A common misconception is that teledermatology only has voice calls, in reality, they consist of any features that a tablet could provide, that includes both visual and audio.
As people grow more concerned about receiving appropriate dermatological care, and not just cosmetically since skin cancers morbidity is rising, teledermatology is a promising choice. They would help clients with skin abnormalities or help guide them on a right path, without being excessively expensive.
Teledermatology can be used in many situations. It can either provide clinical service to patients, monitor their health, consult with other healthcare physicians and even introduce patients to educational resources. Teledermatogy might be the solution to skin issues that need diagnosing, screening and managing cancers or pigmented skin problems.
What does teledermatologist do
Teledermatologist will use two basic technological modalities such as, store and forward method and real-time video conferencing. With the store and forward method, patients will be taking pictures and making videos which will then be assessed by a dermatologist in a different time and place. This method is especially effective on patients with poor access to healthcare as there is no need to coordinate scheduled visits. It’s relatively inexpensive and could be used across time zones and doesn’t interfere with the workflow.
Real-time video conferencing will help patients get a hold of a dermatologist instantly. With both patients and physicians interacting at the same time, it could help clarify any misunderstandings patients might have. Also, during consultation, dermatologists can get a hold of patients’ medical history almost immediately, resulting in more accurate advice and less time consuming research.
Benefits of teledermatology
1. Efficient diagnosis
Teledermatology is just a method of communication, on the other side of your screen, is still a board-certified, medically trained dermatologist. They could perform any procedures, prescribe any medication you might need, in the comfort of your own home. Via teledermatology, a dermatologist can consult with more than 195 patients, with 94% of them able to receive treatment right away, without having to come in person. For 11 out 16 patients, teledermatology was sufficient for the diagnosis, whereas for the other 5, personal dermatological examination was necessary.
2. Avoiding the COVID-19 spread
Not only during COVID-19, but even after the distancing ban was lifted, teledermatology would still be thriving in business. The concept of inpatient admissions when there are still coronavirus infectants still being treated in the hospital seems dangerous for anyone. This means there are still reasons to avoid personal visits to outpatients clinics. Moreover, there are many diseases that don’t allow patients to leave the quarantined place, so in these situations, teledermatology is the best solution.
3. Frequent follow up consultations
Additionally, common skin conditions that require constant follow up like skin ulcers need consultations at least twice per week. This will demand commitments from the patients who not only invest their time, but also their financial obligations. With teledermatology, this could reduce the time and effort using video consultations and more importantly, drive down the financial burden on patients.
Annually, a dermatologist earns about $208,308 per year, and through teledermatology, they could make an extra $173,314. Teledermatology in specific and telemedicine in general isn’t just beneficial for patients, but also an opportunity for physicians to help more people and deliver the care in their own home.