Teledermatology: Revolutionising Dermatology

Posted on: 3 January 2019

The latest development in dermatological services is teledermatology. Dermatology services can now be provided through an innovative telehealth model. This is particularly beneficial for those residing in rural or remote areas, where these services cannot be easily accessed. Teledermatology also provides convenience to those who cannot leave their home for various reasons, such as the elderly who have trouble commuting. Skin problems are a big reason why people visit their doctors and can significantly affect one's quality of life.   

How does consultation take place?

Normally you will see a doctor through video consultation and discuss your skin concerns. Your doctor will then refer you to a suitable dermatologist, who will conduct a video consultation with you at a scheduled time. The dermatologist will provide a diagnosis and management plan for your skin condition. This type of consultation has the advantage of allowing the patient to directly interact with and obtain advice from a qualified dermatologist. 

The quality of the video is important because the dermatologist will rely on visual cues to provide a diagnosis. Furthermore, they will also ask a range of questions to obtain all the information they require for formulating an optimum treatment plan.

One such condition that can be managed through teledermatology consultations is psoriasis. This can be a debilitating condition if not managed properly, and lesions appear unexpectedly, leaving the sufferer confused as to how they can best manage their condition. Using a telehealth portal, they can simply schedule a consultation with their teledermatologist or send them a quick email with a photo of the lesion and obtain prompt advice. 

Communicating information online

Aside from the consultation, patients can simply send pictures of their skin lesions to dermatologists through any online platform. They will then receive advice on how to treat and manage their condition. This is also less expensive then physical consultations, and no expensive equipment is required. Skin lesions can form at any time, and fast, reliable advice from a qualified professional is of value. People with hearing problems who find it difficult to communicate their skin problems in person also find it easier to email their teledermatologist and stay on top of their skin condition. 

Additionally, GPs can communicate patient skin concerns through a telehealth portal and obtain specialist advice when they need it most. 

Although there are still some improvements to be made in the telehealth model, teledermatology is producing great results for many skin condition sufferers.