Have you heard of telemedicine? If you have not, you will very soon. At the end of 2015, only 37% of companies were offering their patients telemedicine, but about 34% said they have plans to add it to what they offering by the end of 2017. Telemedicine allows a patient to consult a doctor remotely. This setup is great for people who would otherwise have difficulty getting to the doctor’s office: people who live in rural areas; busy professionals; those living overseas but want their doctor’s opinion. Perhaps unsurprisingly, teledermatology, where a patient can ask a dermatologist about their skin concerns, is also an area that is growing.
At some point in their life, 85% of people will have some form of acne. Of those sufferers, about 40% develop facial scarring from acne during their teenage years. It is possible to minimize the damage. As acne is caused when a skin pore becomes blocked with oil, it is better to attempt a prevention method. When a person’s face does break out with blemishes, it is important to not make any attempt at puncturing the blemishes, as that will increase the chances of scarring, as any dermatologist will attest. A dermatologist clinic can take a look at the problem and recommend treatment.
With teledermatology, patients can be seen by the dermatologist by either video conference, or by submitting photos and paperwork to the office. The dermatologist can then look at the symptoms and contact the patient to recommend treatment. Unless there is a serious problem, neither route requires the patient to make the trek to the clinic. As dermatologist offices are more likely to be located in metropolitan areas, that is convenient to the many people who are not.
Using teledermatology can be a great way to make sure your skin is healthy. We have all heard the warnings about the dangers of too much sunlight. Melanoma is a serious concern; as many as one in five Americans will be develop skin cancer at some point in their life. As with most skin conditions, prevention is best. Wearing sunscreen on exposed skin consistently is always recommended by dermatologists. But what if you are worried about what you might already have?
This is where teledermatology excels. Few people want to drive to an office, wait around, and then be told the mole they are worried about is, in actuality, nothing to worry about. Who has the time? While we should make time for our health, there is no denying the appeal of sending a photograph instead.
Good communication is an essential part of any doctor’s appointment. Telemedicine is certainly changing the relationship between doctor and patient. If it keeps more people healthy, regardless of location, it can only be a good thing.