Virtual care is exhausting. Here are 3 things doctors should do before every online visit to practice telehealth more efficiently:
1. Get photos of the condition Tell the patient to take a few photos of their condition and send them to you beforehand. Most skin conditions can be immediately diagnosed from a photo.
2. Obtain medical history Ask the patient to provide details about their symptoms and any previously tried & failed treatments ahead of time. This way you can spend the time with the patient reviewing their diagnosis and treatment plan instead of documenting the complaint.
3. Collect a visit fee Have the patient pay for their share of the visit with a credit card before you evaluate the condition. No more chasing patients for uncollected fees.
Obtaining this information prior to a telehealth visit requires substantial legwork by your staff. HealthLens does it automatically.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
For most parents, the well-being of their child is their chief concern 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. So when their child does fall ill, mothers and fathers will stop at nothing until their child is feeling better. In an age where just about any service can be summoned instantly via a smartphone, moms are demanding a modern solution to the inconvenient nature of a traditional doctor’s visit.
In a recent study conducted by LiveHealth Online, a live-video telemedicine platform started by Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, nearly 3/4ths (71%) of the moms surveyed “reported losing more than two hours from the work/school day due to taking their child for a doctor visit.” This unnecessary strain can result in foregone appointments and added stress at work.
As a corollary, the appeal of telemedicine to moms is increasing dramatically. The study found that “moms are constantly looking for better and easier ways to manage their family’s health, with all agreeing (100%) that having round the clock access to a doctor would be helpful.” Anthem’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Peter Bowers affirmed this emerging need, stating, “Research shows that busy working moms can find it challenging to see a doctor when they need to address a non-emergency health issue.” Telemedicine appears poised to offer relief.
However, there is a trade-off. Most instant telemedicine services like LiveHealth Online connect patients with a random provider that has never seen the patient before and is unlikely to see them again. The care is quick but fragmented.
Some telemedicine services, like HealthLens, offer a compromise. Patients can send photos and information about their concern to their own family physician, pediatrician, or dermatologist and expect a diagnosis and treatment plan within 48 hours. Most providers typically respond within 4-8 hours so same-day care is uncommon.
Regardless of whether they choose store-and-forward or live-interactive telemedicine, moms will no longer have to sacrifice 2+ hours of their day to have their child evaluated by a doctor.
Being a parent is not an easy job, telemedicine can help.
HealthLens is pleased to welcome to Dr. Kjartan Armann and Dr. Sima Stein to the HealthLens community of doctors. Patients for both doctors will now be able to send “virtual visits” to their respective doctors online via HealthLens’s secure telemedicine platform.
Dr. Armann is a pediatric physician located in Los Gatos, California. For over 30 years, Dr. Armann has been providing pediatric care for all children from infants to teenagers. Regarded highly by his colleagues and parents, Dr. Armann has a track record of healthy patients and warm reviews. Dr. Armann uses HealthLens to evaluate dermatological conditions and refill prescriptions online.
To start an online visit with Dr. Armann, head to KJKID.com and click on “Online Visits.”
Dr. Stein is a distinguished pediatrician with practices in both Mountain View and San Jose. Her practices are dedicated to providing the highest quality medical care to infants, children, and young adults of all nationalities. There are not many other pediatrician offices that can provide services in English, Chinese, Hindu, Russian, Spanish, Ukrainian, and Vietnamese.
Dr. Stein uses HealthLens to evaluate patients who are out of town, at school, or just too busy to come into the office for an evaluation.
To start an online visit with Dr. Stein, head to Doctor-Stein.com and click on “Start an Online Visit.”