Telehealth is on the rise. More and more, people are using it to receive care in their own homes. And with good reason: Telehealth can be much less expensive than office visits and hospital stays while also providing a high quality of care, so it’s no surprise that dermatologists embrace this new way of working. After all, dermatological care has always been about prevention rather than treatment.
In fact, when you consider how many people have skin problems these days (one out of three Americans), telehealth might just be the answer to your skincare needs. So whether you’re looking for recommendations on how to treat your eczema or what the perfect skincare set for your skin type is, connecting via telehealth could be the ideal avenue for getting those answers.
What Is Telehealth?
Telehealth, sometimes also called telemedicine, is a term used to describe the use of electronic communication technology to deliver health care services. This can include phone calls, video conferencing, remote monitoring and online consultations. Telehealth has become increasingly popular in recent years to provide healthcare services to people who may not have access to traditional health care services.
It can also be used to provide additional support to people who are already receiving treatment from a healthcare provider, saving them from venturing into hospitals or traveling long distances for simple follow-ups and consultations.
There are many pros and cons to using telehealth. Some of the pros include that it can be more convenient for people who live far from a healthcare provider, it can be more affordable than traditional health care services and it can allow people to get help from specialists who may not be available in their local area.
On the other hand, some cons include that it can be more challenging to make an initial diagnosis. In addition, it can be difficult to establish trust with a healthcare provider you have never met before, and some people find the service to be less personable.
Telehealth has been a valuable tool for people during the coronavirus pandemic despite these potential drawbacks. It has allowed people who cannot leave their homes to receive care. It has allowed people access to specialists who would not usually be available to them during these times.
When to Use and Not Use Telehealth Services
As mentioned above, telehealth is excellent for connecting people with healthcare providers who may not be available in their local area. It can also provide additional support to people who are already receiving treatment from a healthcare provider.
There are a few times when telehealth should not be used. These include when there is an immediate need for care that cannot be provided remotely, a lack of technology or internet access and a lack of trained staff to provide the necessary care.
If you consider using telehealth services, it is important to consider these factors. First, telehealth is never a substitute for emergency care. Also, it’s necessary to make sure that you have the technology required and internet access before you begin using the service.
Sometimes a combination of telehealth and in-person consultation might also be a good fit for your situation. For example, initial discussions with a healthcare provider about your health concerns can be done over the phone or on Zoom. Then more in-depth care and tests can be provided in a doctor’s office or hospital setting. After all, we can’t draw blood or do physical tests through a screen.
Dermatological Care Via Telehealth
A dermatologist is a doctor who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of skin conditions, and they’ve been using telehealth to provide care for skin conditions for many years. They can treat a wide range of conditions, including acne, eczema and psoriasis. Thankfully, many issues can be addressed through telehealth services. Still, again, an in-person visit will be required for tests to be run.
Telehealth for dermatological care has some benefits. These include that it can be more convenient for people who live far from a healthcare provider. It can be more affordable than traditional healthcare services. It can allow people to get help from specialists who may not be available in their local area. It can also help stop the spread of any potentially contagious skin conditions, like ringworm, by providing a way for people to get treatment without visiting a doctor’s office.
Dermatologists can also provide cosmetic services, such as laser hair removal and Botox injections. However, these won’t work over a screen, so you’ll need to go in for that.
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If you are experiencing a skin condition, it’s good to see a doctor. A dermatologist can provide you with the care and treatment that you need with everything from general advice to recommending specific probiotic skincare products to alleviate an issue. If you cannot travel to a doctor’s office, you may be able to receive treatment through telehealth.
Necessary Technology for Telehealth
To use telehealth services, you will need a phone or computer with a camera, an internet connection, and the ability to download and use video conferencing software.
Zoom and Skype will be two of the most common video conferencing software options and are both available for free download. However, they may take some getting used to, so it’s good to become familiar with them before you need to use them for a telehealth consultation. If you’re struggling, ask a family member or loved one for help.
Most smartphones and laptops come with a built-in camera and the ability to connect to the internet, so they can be used for telehealth services if you have enough data or an internet plan. However, if you are using a standard desktop computer and monitor to connect with your healthcare provider, you may need a camera and microphone attached to the computer. These can be purchased separately or as part of a package.
It is essential to have a good internet connection when using telehealth services. A weak or slow signal can cause problems with the video and audio quality of the consultation. If you are using a cellular data connection, make sure that you have an unlimited data plan or know the data usage limits for your plan.
Telehealth Isn’t Everywhere … Yet
It is important to note that not all healthcare providers offer telehealth services. Therefore, you will need to check with your provider to see if they provide telehealth services and their requirements.