One picture can be a life-changing experience. You take photographs of favorite family moments, vacation vistas, and whenever your dog decides to act crazy. It’s the stuff that we build memories on each day.
A single picture of a dermatological condition could also be a life-saving experience. When people in rural areas have limited access to specialists who can look at their skin, the images shared through teledermatology enables patients to speak with doctors about how they are doing.
If you have psoriasis or eczema, then this medical communication seems like the perfect solution. You can let your doctor know how things are going from the comfort of your home. Studies from as early as 2012 show that the quality of care that people receive when using teledermatology is similar to what happens during an in-person visit.
Both groups experience improvements to their skin, which means the quality of life gets better.
How to Maximize the Benefits of Teledermatology
If you have the option for an in-person visit, then you should take it if you have a dermatological condition that requires examination. Some issues need a biopsy so that a correct diagnosis can develop, and that procedure isn’t possible through teledermatology.
When this option is your best choice for an appointment, then there are some tips for you to follow when taking pictures for your doctor to see.
1. Provide clarity in the image.
Taking close-up pictures of your skin’s problem areas is going to help your dermatologist reach a diagnosis faster. If the image is blurry, then it isn’t useful. That means being in enough light for the camera to focus on what you need to show the doctor.
2. Don’t be shy about what you send.
Doctors prefer it when images of the skin get sent systematically. Take pictures of every problem area, even if you feel embarrassed by showing off that patch of the dermis. If you need to post images of sensitive body parts, then make sure that the teledermatology system you’re using offers encrypted and secure messaging.
3. Compare problem areas with healthy ones.
Teledermatology encourages patients to send in the images of their problematic areas. Doctors need you to send them contrasting photos where they can also see your healthy skin. When there is an opportunity to look at both options, it is easier for them to reach a diagnosis.
4. Follow all of the directions.
If you decide to use teledermatology, then make sure that you follow all of the directions provided by your doctor. The system you use should set you up for a successful outcome. Don’t hesitate to ask any questions you might have.
5. Be ready for an interview.
A picture is helpful with teledermatology, but it is also necessary to conduct an interview with most patients. A doctor will ask about any symptoms, such as pain or itching, in addition to the visual inspection offered.
You should consider teledermatology whenever you live at least 100 miles away from your nearest specialist. Then be prepared to visit for a biopsy on problematic areas to ensure the correct diagnosis is possible.