Making the best of your Pacific Derm Telehealth Dermatology Appointment
To our Pacific Derm family: our lives have been changed in so many ways in the wake of COVID19. None of us could have forecasted being in this situation when 2020 started. Our practice has responded quickly to the “call to action” from our public health authorities by changing our protocols to enable social distancing to protect our patients and our staff. Our staff will be contacting patients in regards to their upcoming appointments and to offer a Telehealth Appointment when relevant. Telehealth will not fully replace an in-person appointment; however we still want to deliver reasonable and timely advice in a difficult context. Through Telehealth, we can still have a positive impact on your health.
What skin conditions are best suited to a Telehealth Dermatology Appointment?
Acne, rosacea, eczema and psoriasis can be effectively managed via Telehealth. This is especially true for existing patients who may be on topical or oral treatments already. For our patients getting mole checks or skin cancer evaluation, Telehealth can be used to triage urgent situations that may require an in-office visit for examination and biopsy. We are enforcing physical distancing and so limiting in-office appointments.
How can I prepare for my Telehealth Dermatology Appointment?
- Gather your prescription medications, including creams/ointments, as well as your skincare products.
- When your appointment is booked, let our staff know what your preferred pharmacy is: any prescriptions will be faxed directly to encourage physical distancing.
- In preparation for your appointment, take up to 3 photos of the area of interest. Ensure they are taken in a well-lit room and are in focus. These can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org ahead of your consultation. Although this is our private practice email, be mindful that email is not a fully secure confidential channel. To help us link this information to your chart, please indicate your appointment time, the dermatologist you have been referred to (Jason Rivers, Marcie Ulmer, Diana Diao, Vincent Richer or Allison Gregory) and your initials only.
- Make sure you are in a private well-lit room with your latest piece of technology handy (tablet, laptop, desktop) in the event your dermatologist converts your consultation to secure video conferencing.
- Be ready to start on time, although a short wait is not unusual. We are doing our best to respect the schedules, but technical issues can occur on both ends.
- Keep a pen and paper on hand to take notes.
What are the limits of a Telehealth Dermatology Appointment?
- Total body skin exams cannot be performed thoroughly by Telehealth, but concerning, changing or rapidly growing lesions can still be assessed individually to see if an in-person visit is required.
- Cultures and biopsies cannot be performed. Even requests for bloodwork may be limited during a certain period of time.
- Despite having a Telehealth appointment, your doctor may recommend 1) that you come in urgently to the office if your condition warrants it or 2) to have you come in in-person, in which case the office would call you for a follow-up appointment.
In these unprecedented times, we are here for you. We are eagerly waiting to resume the pace of our Medical and Cosmetic Dermatology activities – in the meantime we remain available to our patients to support and address your skin-related concerns.
Written By Dr. Vincent Richer