Teledermatology: Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is teledermatology?
Teledermatology is a medical visit that occurs over an electronic platform whether that be phone or internet. Most visits include electronic transmission of photos from the patient to our office and/or video interaction in which the area(s) of concern are viewed and discussed. Visits include diagnosis and treatment.
2. How can I schedule a teledermatology visit?
Please call our office to schedule. We will speak with you to determine if your concern can/should be handled via teledermatology or in person. Please keep in mind that not all skin concerns can be addressed via teledermatology and sometimes this cannot be ascertained prior to a visit. We will do our best to triage you to the appropriate setting:
- In person, immediate (within the week)
- Example: severe rash, rapidly growing skin lesion, painful growth, skin abscess, highly concerning lesions
- Examples of potentially appropriate teledermatology visit include mild rashes, acne, psoriasis, and biologic medication follow-up.
- Prior to your teledermatology visit, we will determine which platform you prefer for your visit and give you instructions accordingly.
- In person, delayed
3. How will I be charged?
Shortly before your visit we will call you for your credit card number. We will process a $100 charge, which will cover up to a 15-minute visit. If your visit requires more time, we will let you know the remaining balance that will be charged to the same card immediately after the visit.
4. Can anyone use the teledermatology platform?
Most patients can now be seen via teledermatology. We will do our best to triage (see #2) and to utilize a platform that is user-friendly. If during your teledermatology visit it is determined that an in person urgent visit is required, you will not be charged for 2 separate visits, but the visit will be converted and the teledermatology charge will go towards the in person visit charge(s). One example of this is if Dr. Buster sees a lesion concerning for melanoma.
5. How can I prepare for my teledermatology visit?
Have a flashlight handy. Keep in mind that the one on your phone can’t be used during a call from that phone. A flashlight can be helpful when looking at skin lesions.
6. How do I take high quality photos?
If using the Spruce platform, you can take pictures ahead of time and upload them in preparation for your visit. High quality photos are important to help us properly evaluate your condition (and potentially save you an office visit).
Please try the following in order to maximize the quality of the image(s):
- Turn the phone sideways (i.e., use the landscape orientation).
- Use a solid background. Avoid backgrounds that may be distracting (e.g., reflective, busy, cluttered).
- Unless otherwise directed, include photos that are 3 distances away from the area of concern. Include further away (‘Who is it?), mid distance (“Where is it?”) and closer up (“what is it?”).
- Turn off your flash.
- Check your photos for focus. A very sharp image is needed. On an iPhone you can touch the part of the photo you want to be the focus and it will adjust the focus if needed.
Other questions? Please give us a call or message us through your portal account. This is new for us too so we’ll do our best to make this run as smoothly as possible!