The General Appearance Photo

Guy in red shirt taking photo of himself.
Make sure the photo you supply is clearly focused and recently taken. A “selfie” works best.

Many times patients are curious as to why they have to supply a general appearance photo along with their condition photos when submitting a virtual visit on HealthLens. A general appearance photo is essentially a “selfie” and it serves a couple of important functions during the online evaluation.

Foremost, the general appearance gives the doctor an up-to-date look at the patient’s overall health. If the doctor has never seen the patient before in their practice, this picture provides them with a foundation to compare the patient’s overall skin quality to the skin quality in their condition photos. It is a simple way to gauge how much sun damage the person may have. If it is an existing patient but the doctor has not seen him or her in their practice for a substantial period of time, the general appearance photo allows the doctor see if there have been any dramatic changes to the person’s health or skin quality besides normal aging.

A secondary purpose is that the general appearance photo helps the doctor instantly identify which patient they are evaluating. At a busy practice, there are usually a few patients who share the same name. Likewise, many doctors see multiple siblings from the same family in their practices. This photo eliminates the chance of the doctor getting two patients with the same name mixed up.

The general appearance photo is a vital aspect of your virtual visit on HealthLens. The best way to provide your doctor with a quick snapshot of your overall health is to provide the most recent photo possible. A “selfie” taken while completing the visit works great! So the next time you are submitting a virtual visit on HealthLens to your doctor, keep in mind the comically catchy lyrics of The Chainsmokers’s EDM hit song, “#SELFIE,” which go “But first, let me take a selfie.”

Urgency vs. Continuity of Care

Pills and thermometer on black surface
Some telemedicine visits can lead to unnecessary prescriptions. Find out how HealthLens MDs are reducing over-prescribing.

In an age where almost all consumer goods and services can be hailed instantly from the customer’s phone, prompt access to a medical doctor through a smartphone seems to be an appropriate fit for today’s “Uber Economy.” It’s one of the most touted benefits of telemedicine. Patients can connect with a doctor quickly and more conveniently than a traditional office appointment. But like with all new technology, there is a trade-off. In exchange for urgent medical advice, patients are connected with healthcare providers who they have never seen before, and will most likely never see again after the telemedicine visit.

This puts the providers in a tough situation as they feel compelled to take a “worst case scenario” approach to their diagnoses and treatment recommendations. The fear of underdiagnosing a patient outweighs the consequences of prescribing medications that the patient might not need. The most common example of this is the unfettered prescribing of antibiotics by telemedicine doctors. Instead of waiting for confirmation that the patient is not reacting to a virus, these doctors will usually prescribe antibiotics just in case it turns out to be a bacterial infection.

So how can telemedicine companies combat the overprescribing of antibiotics and other prescriptions? The solution is quite simple. Connect patients with doctors who can monitor the patient’s progress over time. At HealthLens, only doctors who are active members of a practice can join. This allows the patients to select a doctor in their area so they can visit their office for additional tests and procedures if necessary. HealthLens also allows the patients to ask the doctor questions after the diagnosis has been made, which improves adherence to treatment plans and, consequently, patient outcomes.

By lengthening the care window from 10 minutes to however long it takes for the patient’s outcome to improve, HealthLens’ telemedicine platform helps doctors make more accurate assessments and recommend more appropriate treatment options.

To find a doctor in your area who uses HealthLens to evaluate their patients online, visit HealthLens.com.

Take your doctor to college with you.

Woman writing with a computer on her lap
Studies can make it difficult to stay on top of your health.

The new school year is right around the corner for most college students. With 100% of their time and energy focused on finding the proper balance of good grades, work, social life, and sleep, their health can easily fall to the bottom of their priority list while at school.

When health concerns do arise for college students, many of them are reluctant to seek medical attention – citing their busy schedules as a common excuse. Even though their campus health clinic is a nearby option, many students prefer to seek treatment from the doctors with whom they have pre-existing relationships. They know that their doctors back home have a much better understanding of their health and lifestyle than a new doctor who won’t have the time to really get to know them.

That’s why Michael, a student at UC Davis, and many of his classmates, use HealthLens to be evaluated by the doctors they know and trust. “A few weeks ago, I went mountain biking and a couple days after the ride I developed a rash on my calves, thighs, and forearms. I assumed it was just a reaction to poison oak, but after a few days the rash kept getting worse and worse. I decided to use HealthLens to send pictures of the rash to my dermatologist in Los Gatos. He confirmed it was a bad poison oak reaction, and recommended a cold compress and prescribed prednisone to a pharmacy in Davis.”

A growing number of millennials like Michael are turning to telemedicine to address their medical concerns. “It’s convenient, fits my budget, and was as simple as sending an email,” said another UC student who used HealthLens to have an ominous mole evaluated by her dermatologist. “Best of all, I knew who would be evaluating and caring for me, my doctor.”
If you are one of the many students who prefers to be evaluated by their own trusted doctor, but doesn’t want to spend Thanksgiving break in their waiting room, try HealthLens and connect with your own doctor.

Podiatrists are using HealthLens telemedicine to evaluate and treat toenail fungus.

As you get older, it’s no secret that your toes can become rather unsightly, especially if you’re a guy. The culprit is toenail fungus. Toenail fungus causes nails to become thicker, more brittle, ragged, and crumbly. Your spouse and kids will describe the sight of your toes as grotesque.

Fortunately for them, and you, help is on the way. Podiatrists are now using HealthLens to evaluate patient’s toenail problems remotely without the need for an office visit. Patients are taking 1-3 sharply focused photos of their toes, answering a few questions, and sending the case to their podiatrists. Within a day, the patient receives a diagnosis and treatment plan from the doctor. If the treatment plan includes a prescription, it has already been sent to the patient’s pharmacy.

If you have some unsightly toenails, give HealthLens a try and connect with a podiatrist near you. Your spouse and kids will thank you.

Man laying in the sand at beach.
Toes in the water. Life is good.

How Pediatricians Are Using Telemedicine Today.

Young boy holding hands with a parent.
Dermatologists use telemedicine to evaluate moles and rashes from afar. Surgeons use telemedicine to perform wound checks without an office visit. Pediatricians are also beginning to employ telemedicine in their practices to evaluate rashes, moles, cuts, and much more online. Their patients love the convenience and it saves pediatricians and their staff from spending much of their day on the phone with concerned patients and parents.

Time and time again, we hear pediatricians describe an all too familiar occurrence. A parent calls the pediatrician’s office and informs the staff that their son Billy has contracted a rash and it’s imperative that the doctor evaluates his rash ASAP. The problem is the doctor does not have any available appointments for the next few days and Billy’s schedule is too busy to take advantage of any last minute cancellations.

The solution is simple, it’s telemedicine. If the pediatrician uses a telemedicine service like HealthLens, Billy’s parent can snap some photos of his rash, answer a few questions, and securely send it over to his pediatrician. When his pediatrician has a break in the action, he or she can log into HealthLens, evaluate Billy’s online visit, render a diagnosis, create a treatment plan including a prescription, and send it back to Billy and his parent. The whole process takes about 5 minutes for both parties and Billy’s parent can rest easy knowing a diagnosis from Billy’s own doctor will come in less than 48 hours.

The next time you need to have something evaluated by a doctor, check to see if they offer online care before going through the tedious process of scheduling an office visit.

Telemedicine is great for dermatologists. How about for the other doctors?

Doctors in operating room performing bypass surgery on patient.
Image courtesy of Sujin Jetkasettakorn at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Most skin conditions have certain diagnostic features that are easily recognizable to a trained professional like a dermatologist. The visual nature of these diagnostic features allow dermatologists to effectively evaluate and diagnose many skin conditions online through telemedicine. Dermatologists are not the only specialists that can use telemedicine to improve outcomes, save time, and reduce costs for their patients. Surgeons are beginning to incorporate telemedicine into their standard of care.

Surgeons do surgeries. Granted it would be quite difficult for a surgeon to perform surgery through your computer. After the surgery though, it is important for to doctor to monitor how the wound is healing. Traditionally, this required the patient to get in their car and drive back to the doctor’s office. During the appointment, the doctor would ask a few questions and take a quick gander at the wound. If the wound looked good, the patient was promptly sent on their way. If the wound did not look so pretty, the doctor might prescribe some new medications and then promptly send the patient on their way.

Fortunately, the year is now 2016 and patients are not restricted to the tradition office visit for a follow-up evaluation. Using telemedicine services like HealthLens, patients can upload photos and answer pertinent questions about how their wound is healing and send them to their surgeon without ever leaving their home. Additionally, if their wound starts to take a turn for the worse, patients can immediately send an online visit to their doctor instead of waiting until their scheduled appointment date. Follow-up wound checks are a common example of how surgeons are using telemedicine to make life a little easier for their patients.

Why is my insurance company promoting their telemedicine service to me?

Discount telemedicine service advertisement

Foremost, your insurance company is promoting telemedicine because insurance companies understand the benefits of services like HealthLens. The insurance companies have run the numbers and assessed the effectiveness of telemedicine, and have come to the conclusion that the use of telemedicine is beneficial for the patient. Not only is telemedicine much more convenient than a traditional office, but the proper use of telemedicine can catch serious conditions sooner and improve patient outcomes afterwards.

Your insurance company is also promoting their telemedicine service to you for another reason. By pairing you up with a random healthcare provider on some discount telemedicine service, they are able to save costs. Although this is practical for the insurance company, it does not always guarantee the same level of care that your doctor can offer, whether through telemedicine or office visits. The leading telemedicine experts agree that telemedicine is best performed by doctors who are part of systems where patients already receive care.

When it comes to deciding what telemedicine service is right for you, choose the one that will connect you with a doctor that has already seen you in their office or can see and treat you in their office following the online evaluation.

HealthLens addresses the JAMA Study on Telemedicine

A couple of weeks ago, JAMA published a study that raised concerns about the quality of care being delivered by several telemedicine and teledermatology companies. These findings were quickly scooped up by news outlets and spun into some very sensational stories which concluded all telemedicine is lacking. What many of the stories failed to mention is that while some of the telemedicine companies that were tested are indeed subpar, there are also a handful a telemedicine companies that are leading the industry by providing adequate care for the patients who utilize them.

JAMA According to the researchers, the best telemedicine companies are the ones that connect patients with their own providers. Dr. Jack Resneck, a dermatologist at UCSF, and lead author on the study, told interviewers, “That’s why telemedicine is best performed by physicians and team members who are part of practices or regional systems in which patients already receive care.” For the most serious diagnoses, patients must be able to promptly visit the doctor’s office for additional tests or procedures. Likewise, doctors must be able to follow up with their patients after certain procedures or prescribing medicine. At HealthLens, we strive to connect patients with their own doctors. This way they can always schedule an office visit if the need arises.

Another alarming concern raised in the study is that some telemedicine companies do not let their patients choose their healthcare provider and, as a result, patients can receive diagnoses and treatment recommendations from doctors who are not licensed in the state, or even the country, in which they were providing care. Fortunately for the patients who use HealthLens, this is never an issue. Patients are able to peruse the doctors in their area, review their credentials and practice information, and select the provider that best fits their needs.

When it comes to picking the right telemedicine company, choose the one that your doctor recommends, HealthLens.

Online Care Saves Time for the Patient and the Doctor

Time - photo of clock

Before Kayak and SkyScanner, airline reservations were made over the phone or directly from the airport. Today, 99% of air travel is booked online. Granted, 99% of health care cannot be conducted over the internet, but a growing percentage of health care is being delivered online, successfully too.

Convenience was the obvious and ultimate driver that caused the switch from booking air travel over the phone to on the internet. Similarly, convenience is a driving force behind its growth of online care. For patients and doctors who use HealthLens, it’s no different.

Patients can submit a new online visit in less than 10 minutes. That’s less than the time most people spend in the waiting room. And rather than waiting 2 to 6 weeks before your doctor will see you, most HealthLens doctors evaluate their patients the same day they submit their visit.

Rather than calling the doctor or nurse and trying to describe their condition over the phone, patients now have the ability to send in photos and information about their condition to their doctor over the internet. This allows doctors and their staff to make better assessments and quickly prescribe treatment or call the patient in for an office visit.

As a result, doctors are able to reduce the time they spend on the phone with patients. Early users of HealthLens report 20-25% reductions in the time spent managing medical requests from their patients. This allows doctors to spend less time in the office and still be accessible to their patients.
Like booking flights online, online care is a win-win for the patient and the doctor.

TRAVELLING THIS SUMMER? TAKE YOUR DOCTOR WITH YOU WHEREVER YOU GO

Beautiful Ko Phi Phi Beach in Thailand with a long tail boat.
Ko Phi Phi

One of the most appealing aspects of travelling is that it takes you out of your comfort zone and exposes you to new things – new sights, new foods, new people, and coincidentally, new hazards. No matter where you go or how many precautions you take, there is always a chance you will need medical attention at some point during your adventure.

Many countries that cater to tourists have clinics where you can stop in and get your ailment diagnosed and treated. These clinics, for the most part, are tolerable and usually resolve the issue. However, nothing beats the security and assurance of having your family doctor poised to offer their professional advice at a moment’s notice. Sound too good to be true? It’s not. Nowadays, telemedicine is connecting patients with their doctors wherever there is wifi. For patients who want to connect with their own doctors, they choose HealthLens.

From Kathmandu to Ko Phi Phi, patients have been using HealthLens to get their symptoms evaluated by their doctors in the United States. It’s quick and HIPAA compliant, but most importantly, it lets the patients continue on their adventures.

If you are travelling this summer, don’t forget to bring HealthLens along for the journey. Your doctor will always be just one online visit away.