It’s a strange time for all of us. With the recent spread of COVID-19 and the pandemic that soon followed, many of us are forced to stray from our everyday lives and step into a life that’s unfamiliar.
How do we maintain our habits, appointments, commitments, and more without contributing to the fatal impact of this virus? Here at Apex Skin, those same questions arose and we wanted to stick to our commitments most. That means our commitment to you, our patients.
Let us introduce you to TeleDermatology, a system that allows for our board-certified dermatologists to evaluate, diagnose, and treat patients using a phone or computer rather than an in-person visit. TeleDermatology can also be called TeleDerm for short, or TeleMedicine (TeleMed for short), or most simply a Virtual Visit.
You still have needs, and we’re here to serve them.
Mary Hylton, CNP will break down everything we need to know about TeleDermatology in the age of Coronavirus.
About Mary Hylton
Mary Hylton graduated from Denison University with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and minor in Music. She graduated with honors from the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing at Case Western Reserve University where she earned two Masters degrees in Nursing, becoming a board certified Family Nurse Practitioner and a member of the honors nursing society Sigma Theta Tau.
Mary specializes in both general and pediatric dermatologic conditions, especially acne, eczema, warts, and psoriasis. She is also experienced in cosmetic dermatology, with specific expertise in laser-based procedures and Botox.
Mary has lived in the Cleveland area for almost ten years with her wonderful husband and two beautiful children.
What are the pros and cons of TeleDermatology?
Some of us love technology; it’s an everyday part of our lives and even sometimes like an extension of us. Others can see it as difficult.
Let’s take a look at both the pros and cons of TeleDermatology.
- Some of the advantages to Tele-Dermatology are the safety and efficiency of use. You can be seen the same day and from the comfort of your own home. My patients have been able to use smart phones, iPads, or computers to communicate.
- The COVID-19 pandemic has made access to healthcare a challenge, and an issue for certain patient populations who risk exposure to the virus by entering public areas. Telehealth makes it possible for patients to continue to connect with quality healthcare providers and receive treatment for non-emergent issues.
- The concern most patients have is the insurance coverage. Good news: it is a covered benefit for the majority of patients! It is also a very easy process that our staff has become very skilled at in the last few weeks and it only takes a matter of minutes to start a visit with your provider.
- Although the pros to TeleDermatology are numerous, any remote form of healthcare will also have its challenges. In dermatology we rely heavily on the physical features of certain spots to determine if they are of concern to the patient. It can be difficult to examine in clear detail an area of concern via electronic device. We are trying to ensure the best possible care at Apex, and have been asking patients to include clear quality photos of any issue patients would like evaluated to give the provider an additional platform to diagnosis.
Who should consider TeleDerm?
TeleDerm can be a great option for patients of all ages. While a Telehealth appointment may be more challenging for the very young or our elderly population, we still encourage anyone with a concern to call our office and make an appointment.
Even if a patient needs to be seen in clinic, an initial online appointment is a great screening tool.
By covering non-emergent cases via Telehealth, we can keep many in our most vulnerable populations from venturing into public and risking exposure to COVID-19.
With state-wide school closures and students now sheltering at home, we have also been utilizing Tele-Derm to see a large number of children and teenagers for conditions like acne and eczema, who otherwise might have gone without treatment.
Whether a patient is new to the practice, or has been with Apex for years, anyone can utilize TeleDerm for their next dermatology appointment. We are trying to help our patients adhere to guidelines given by the state to shelter in place and TeleDerm is a wonderful option.
Apex is proud to contribute in a positive way to #StayHome!
What types of skin conditions are best for TeleDermatology?
We have been seeing a variety of conditions, but some of the most common include acne and concerning spots. A new or existing rash is also another great reason to book an appointment.
If the provider determines the patient needs to come into the clinic setting for additional treatment they are able to determine that via TeleDerm.
Our team can then help navigate the safest way for the patient to be seen in the office.
What should I still go in-office for?
If a patient has a cancerous lesion that needs to be treated or even a history of certain types of skin cancer, especially melanoma, patients should be seen in-clinic. Certain types of rashes and other conditions may also require you to be seen in the office.
However, please call ahead and talk with your provider to determine the best treatment plan for you, as it will vary for every patient.
Is TeleDermatology here to stay?
TeleDermatology is a feature we plan to continue to incorporate into future practice. It is an easy and efficient way to stay connected with our patients and bring quality healthcare in a convenient way.
We are thrilled to be able to utilize technology to serve our patients, so that they continue to have access to the highest quality dermatological care, even during challenging times.
Stay safe and remember to wash your hands!
For more information or to book your TeleDermatology appointment, click here! Let’s get your skin taken care of and feeling better even in this time of difficulty.