Yes, you can manage chronic skin conditions online
It's a common misconception that telemedicine is reserved for single-visit issues like rashes, bug bites, and other urgent but non-emergency diagnoses. While online services are especially useful in dealing with these conditions, virtual visits are certainly not limited to acute ailments.
Telemedicine is an excellent tool for managing chronic conditions, especially in the winter months. Alternating between the cold, dry air outside and the hot, dry air inside; a barrage of fragrances and atypical eating patterns; and seasonal stress triggers flares for many patients. The holidays notoriously make scheduling visits difficult. For those in northern climates, unpredictable weather can shut down doctor's offices with less than 24-hours notice. A pandemic is adding to these hurdles by introducing serious infection risk and imminent lockdowns to the situation.
Getting care when you need it - especially right now - can be challenging. It doesn't have to be. Seeing a dermatologist is simple when the doc is only a click away. With store-and-forward technology, there is never a wait for the doctor to arrive. Dermatology treatment plans can easily be accessed through the portal. There's no wondering what happened three-to-six months ago during a rushed, 10-minute encounter. All DermatologistOnCall visit information is conveniently found within the patient account. For someone experiencing a flare, this wealth of data plus a treatment plan delivered within one day of submission results in excellent care continuity and prompt relief.*
That said, telemedicine isn't only for flares and sudden-onset symptoms. It's also ideal for basic visits like check-ups and prescription refills - especially when maintaining a regular, in-office visit schedule is impractical or impossible. Even complex cases like patients who have been prescribed isotretinoin and those living with psoriasis can benefit from online care. While a preliminary lab trip may still be necessary, a virtual visit is one less appointment and one less chance for exposure to Covid-19.
Taking care online can relieve the anxiety and stress of managing ongoing treatments in tough circumstances. It can also make it easier to monitor a condition over time. Regularly photographing affected areas creates a visual log of disease progression or regression. Straightforward and secure text communication from the DOC portal makes reviewing previous interactions a breeze. Continued use of an online system allows patients to observe seasonal changes in their conditions, to better identify potential triggers, and to have all of this data easily accessible for both the patient and provider.
Using telemedicine doesn't mean seeing a new dermatologist every visit, either. Hundreds of dermatologists use DermatologistOnCall as another option for the patients they see in their brick-and-mortar practices. Of course, many patients come to the platform without a current physician, establish a relationship online first, and continue receiving care from that provider for years.
The role of telemedicine in healthcare is expanding. Patients and providers enjoy the ease and convenience of virtual visits. When a chronic condition requires multiple trips to the dermatologist each year, virtual care leads to fewer missed days of work and school, improved quality of life, and the peace of knowing a dermatologist is always available when and where they are needed most.
*Most DermatologistOnCall visits are completed in 18-hours or less. All visits are guaranteed to be completed within 3 business days.