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Telemedicine: Overview

What is telemedicine?

As coronavirus cases continue to rise, people are sheltering in place to slow its spread. However, many people still need care from a board-certified dermatologist. To keep patients safe and conserve personal protective equipment — such as masks, gowns, and gloves — many dermatologists are seeing patients virtually through telemedicine.

Telemedicine allows you to have an appointment with a doctor, including a dermatologist, from the comfort and safety of your home using your smartphone or computer. Patients with both new concerns and ones with chronic conditions can be treated through telemedicine.

Your telemedicine appointment could include:

  • A video conference with your dermatologist.

  • A telephone call with your dermatologist.

  • Sending your dermatologist information — such as pictures of your condition and written descriptions — through your medical record, patient portal, or email.

During your telemedicine appointment, you can:

  • Have your dermatologist examine a skin, hair, or nail problem.

  • Have your dermatologist check suspicious spots on your skin. If your dermatologist thinks a spot, such as a potential melanoma, needs to be tested or removed, they may ask you to come into their office for an in-person appointment.

  • Maintain treatment for a chronic skin condition, like psoriasis or eczema. It’s important to continue caring for your skin, even when you can’t get to your dermatologist’s office.

  • Be prescribed medication for your skin condition if necessary. You can find pharmacies and drug prices in your area using this tool.

  • Receive dermatologic care when it is convenient to you. Through telemedicine, some patients can communicate back and forth with their dermatologist electronically, so you do not always need to be available to meet at the same time.

  • See a board-certified dermatologist even when you can’t leave your home, or if you live in a remote area.

While telemedicine can’t always replace an in-person visit with your dermatologist, it can help in times when you can’t get to their office.

Telemedicine works best for visible skin, hair, and nail conditions, including:

  • Rashes

  • Acne

  • Eczema

  • Psoriasis

  • Suspicious spots or moles

Depending on your condition, your dermatologist may want to see you in person instead of through telemedicine. To find out if telemedicine may be the right choice for your dermatology appointment, talk with your board-certified dermatologist. By receiving care this way instead of in person, you can stay safe and help slow the spread of the coronavirus.

You can find a dermatologist who offers telemedicine appointments by doing an advanced search for teledermatology as the practice focus using this tool: Find a dermatologist

Learn more about how to prepare for your telemedicine appointment here, Telemedicine: How to prepare.

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