How to Manage Accutane Patients Online During COVID

COVID-19 has made telehealth an essential component of dermatological care. The sudden shift to virtual care has left many dermatology practices scrambling to figure out the best way to handle their Accutane patients online.

Other practices have turned to HealthLens for help.

HealthLens is the only store-and-forward telemedicine platform with an integrated Accutane workflow for managing isotretinoin patients with telehealth. The entire workflow is simplified down to a four-step process that is easy for both female and male patients to follow.

How It Works

Step 1

  1. The patient submits an online visit with acne photos and history of present illness (HPI).
  2. The dermatologist recommends isotretinoin and uses HealthLens’ file-sharing tool to send the patient the required iPledge guide & consent forms. Male patients also receive a lab slip at this point.

Step 2

  1. The patient submits a second online visit with the completed forms & other information required by their doctor. Female patients submit a photo of their home pregnancy test.
  2. The dermatologist registers the patient with iPledge.
  3. If the patient is female, the dermatologist again uses HealthLens’ file-sharing tool to send them a lab slip for the required blood work due in 30 days.
  4. For male patients, the doctor prescribes isotretinoin with instructions for starting the medication through Healthlens’ integrated eRx tool. 

Step 3

  1. Female patients submit a third online visit with a statement acknowledging they have completed the required lab work and iPledge questions 30 days after the second online visit.
  2. The dermatologist uses HealthLens’ eRx tool to prescribe isotretinoin to the female patient with instructions for starting the medication.

Step 4

  1. Every 30 days, the patient submits an online follow-up visit so their dermatologist can update their iPledge status and issue a refill. Female patients include a photo of their home pregnancy test with their clinical photos.
  2. HealthLens’ Automated Follow-Up feature allows the physician to schedule an online follow-up with just a click. 

HealthLens’ integrated Accutane workflow eliminates the stress of managing your isotretinoin patients online. In fact, many dermatologists report that it is easier to manage their isotretinoin patients on HealthLens than in their office.

Schedule a demo today! 

 

Where is the best place to buy skincare products?

Protect your skin with genuine products from your doctor.

The short answer is your dermatologist’s office. Buying skincare products from your doctor guarantees you are getting the products you need for your skin and those products are authentic.

With the ubiquity of online shopping, you can now find almost any skincare product on dozens of websites. Many of these websites are legitimate businesses with professional standards. Many are not. These sites may offer free shipping or a money-back guarantee to trick you into thinking they are legitimate but the products they ship can be counterfeit, stolen, or expired.

A quick Google search will yield hundreds of horror stories of patients duped into buying and using illegitimate products they thought were real. The consequences range from mild burning to lasting injuries.

Buying products from your doctor’s office used to be very inconvenient. The good news is the inconvenience of buying skincare products from your doctor is a thing of the past.

If your doctor uses HealthLens, you can now buy all the products they carry in their office on HealthLens. Every order comes with free shipping and sales tax is included in the product’s price. It’s the convenience of online shopping but with the personalization of a 1-on-1 consult with your skincare specialist.

Go to HealthLens.com today to visit your doctor online and buy the products you need.

Protect Your Skin This Winter with 6 Easy Skin Care Tips

Winter road surrounded by snow covered trees.
Make sure to protect your skin this winter with some easy tips.

As the days get shorter and colder, your skin is very susceptible to the changes in the environment and can damage easily. Here are 6 easy skin care tips that should help you and your skin survive this winter.

6. Moisturize More

As the seasons change, your skin care products may need to change as well. Your skin dries out very easily in cold weather. Consider upgrading from a moisturizing lotion to an oil-based ointment. The ointment will help seal in more moisture than a lotion.

5. Stay Hydrated

Just because it’s not 85 degrees out anymore does not mean you should cut back on your water intake. When it’s cold outside, it’s easy to forget to stay hydrated. Dehydration affects your whole body, not just your skin so your whole body will benefit from maintaining adequate hydration.

4. No Super Hot Showers

Nothing feels more soothing than a long hot shower on a cold winter morning. While this may feel great, the prolonged exposure to hot water depletes your skin of essential lipids and oils that maintain your skin’s moisture naturally. In lieu of a long, hot shower, consider a quick, warm one.

3. Exercise

Bundling up in your coziest sweats and spending the day on the couch under a blanket is a fantastic way to spend a cold winter day, but don’t forget your exercise. Exercise is not only a great way to stay in shape, but sweating clears your pores and improves blood circulation, which helps deliver essential nutrients to your skin.

2. Don’t Forget Your Sunscreen

Like staying hydrated, using sunscreen is not just a summer sport. Sunscreen is one of the best ways to protect your skin. Most moisturizers already have sunscreen in them so make sure to choose one with a high SPF rating and apply it before you head out in the sun. Furthermore, ski slopes are a hotbed for sunburns. When you’re hitting the slopes this season, make sure to be wearing more protection on your head than just a helmet.

1. Visit a Dermatologist

Nobody has better skin care tips than your skin care specialist. Make sure to visit your dermatologist this winter for the latest recommendations. If you’re too busy to make into their office, try visiting your dermatologist online with HealthLens and create the perfect treatment plan for the winter.

Say Goodbye to Traffic

Traffic Jam
Why wait in traffic when you can see your doctor online?

In cities like Los Angeles, there are thousands of doctors that a patient can choose from for an acne evaluation. The patient can read some reviews online and select a doctor in their city that fits the preferences.

When they call the office, the receptionist is able to fit them in at the end of the following day due to a cancellation. Sounds great, right? There is only one thing standing between them and their appointment, traffic.

Rather than endure the misery of idling in rush hour traffic for an hour, wouldn’t it make more sense to take a few photos of their acne with a smartphone and send it to a local dermatologist via HealthLens’ secure telemedicine platform?   More and more patients are starting to think so.

So before you book an office appointment for 4 pm across town, consider using HealthLens to have your skin condition evaluated online by a doctor of your choosing. These online visits are covered by most insurances and patients typically get a diagnosis and treatment plan within 2 business days. If the treatment plan includes a prescription, that prescription is sent directly to the patient’s pharmacy.

 

Telemedicine for Everyone

stethoscope laying down
The tools doctors use every day are changing. Is the smartphone replacing the stethoscope?

As a dermatologist, the possibilities of telemedicine were evident early in my career.  You did not need a patient to make a diagnosis. You just needed a good picture.

Telemedicine was initially promoted as a benefit to patients. It would increase their access to specialty care and surmount geographic barriers. Unfortunately, the only reimbursed format at the time was live interactive video, which was too impractical for widespread use. Patients also had limited access to the technology. Telemedicine languished.  

During this dark time, I was involved with a few unsuccessful start-up telemedicine platforms that focused on direct patient access to specialists. There was a lot learned from the experience but there were no compelling reasons for physicians to adopt the practice.

That changed 2012 when California’s own telehealth law (AB 415) went into effect. Now physicians of all specialties would be beneficiaries of telemedicine. The new law authorized physicians to collect for all forms of electronic interaction. This means you could now be reimbursed for all the free care that you normally give out via the phone or email by using store and forward telemedicine.

The largest benefit, however, is the savings that will occur when physicians no longer have to shoulder the burden of rent, staff, and other expenses when providing care that can be done outside the boundaries of an office. As a result, physicians should explore what aspects of patient care can be responsibly provided online and then try to move patients in that direction. Any progress physicians make in moving portions of their practice online will be protected by the parity law. It requires that online visits be reimbursed at the same full level as an office visit. Telemedicine is now very practical.

Physicians should be wary of many of the telemedicine sites that are out there. Most of the ones you read about in the headlines do not meet the California Medical Association’s (CMA) Principles of Telemedicine. These are the anonymous doctor banks, prescription mills, and sites that use physicians in foreign countries.

Fortunately, there are telemedicine sites that closely adhere to the CMA’s telemedicine standards.  Store and forward platforms like HealthLens (Author is a founder), Azova, and SkyMD enable physicians to practice online in a medically sound and ethical manner.

The primary standard is allowing patients to receive online care from their established physician. This enables follow up with that particular physician and a physical location if an office visit is necessary. Another CMA principle is that the patient’s medical insurance should be used to cover the visit. The CMA adherent platforms also provide secure messaging between patient and physician so the visits can be interactive.

Most commercial insurance companies including Blue Cross, Blue Shield, Cigna and United Healthcare cover store and forward telemedicine. Medicare only covers it in Alaska and Hawaii but there is legislation in progress to expand to all 50 states. To get reimbursed for store-and-forward telemedicine visits, just attach the GQ modifier to your CPT code; e.g. 99203 GQ.

In my practice, I see about 60 online patients per month. Acne, eczema and seborrheic keratoses make up the majority of the conditions I diagnose online. Time sensitive conditions like shingles are not uncommon online diagnoses and it is much easier to get patients on antivirals within that 72-hour window of opportunity when they don’t have to wait for an office visit.

I even see new patients on the internet. According to the Medical Board of California, you can evaluate a new patient online and establish a physician-patient relationship as long as the photo(s) submitted by the patient allows the physician to perform a physical examination that is adequate enough to reasonably make a diagnosis. Established patients, who make up the majority of my online visits, can be evaluated and treated without a photograph. This works out well for prescription renewals.  

Medical research will also benefit from the shift to online care because of the data that telemedicine provides. In the short time HealthLens has been in operation, we have amassed a large library of clinical images, corresponding diagnoses, treatments and, most importantly, outcomes. The granularity of the data will allow for unprecedented levels of analysis.    

Veering from long practiced norms is a troubling process for the medical community. However, the opportunity to eliminate so much of the expense involved in patient care cannot be ignored.  Physicians should be leading the charge in shifting patient care online.  We will be among the beneficiaries.

This is a guest post from HealthLens co-founder Christopher Schmidt, MD.