Teledermatology – How Can I See a Skin Doctor Online Now? And Can I Get a Prescription?

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The idea of making an appointment with a doctor online may feel strange to people who are used to in-person visits at healthcare offices in their area. However, the ability to work with a virtual doctor, especially in the field of dermatology, has become much easier and more accessible in the past few years.

How To Renew Your Prescription and Visit Your Doctor Online

With today’s technology, an online doctor’s visit has become a matter of convenience and accessibility for patients throughout the service area. The idea of staying comfortably at home and having all of your skin checkups, consultations, and even online doctor prescriptions taken care of seems like an excellent idea. Read on to learn the answers to some of the questions you undoubtedly have about teledermatology and how it can make your life simpler without compromising top-notch medical care.

How Can I See a Doctor Online?

When you want to see the best doctor online, the process is as simple as making a telephone call or using the Internet to make an appointment. You do not need any advanced technology or special equipment to have a teledermatology appointment. Our doctor’s office, and many others today, use a state-of-the-art system that allows for full communication between the doctor and patient to ensure that you get the best dermatologist care possible.

All you really need is a cell phone, tablet or computer, so you can see your doctor online and your doctor can see you.  You can show your doctor your condition just like you would in-person through a private, secure connection.

Tips for a great video call:

  • Use strong wifi or an ethernet cable
  • Close unused programs (or restart computer)
  • Do a Pre-call Test

It’s like the days of doctors making house calls are back in a way.  Online doctor visits allow you not only to discuss existing conditions that you have already had an appointment for, but also talk about new concerns. All you have to do is make an appointment and log on to the secure and private system at the right time.  Just like IRL, you may wait in a virtual waiting room until the doctor is ready to see you.

What Is the Best Online Doctor?

Choosing the best online doctor for your specific needs depends on a long list of factors. You should never skimp on professionalism, experience, or specialty just to have access to a telehealth virtual appointment. Convenience is a wonderful thing, especially if you have a very busy schedule or have trouble traveling to the dermatologist’s office. However, you still want the absolute best care possible from the most knowledgeable and trustworthy skin doctor.

Doctor Dorothy J. Buckner, M.D., has a long track record of serving the South Bay area in California. As a member of the American Academy of Dermatology, she is board certified to provide care for all the skin, hair, and nail issues that can affect your health and personal well-being. When it comes time to see a doctor online, make your choice based on all the factors that truly matter to your experience. Check certifications, read testimonials, and get to know the doctor yourself to make the process as comfortable and effective as possible.

 Can I Get a Prescription Without Seeing a Doctor?

Yes, you can get a prescription online. However, according to the medical laws in the United States, only a doctor can prescribe medication or other prescription treatments for you. However, this does not mean that you have to drive a long way to attend an inconvenient appointment in-person just to get this done. You can see your doctor on your phone or computer now with telemedicine and still get your prescriptions written and renewed.

First Time Diagnosis and Prescriptions

 A secure, private video or conference call in which you show a clear image or clip of your skin condition, rash, or other complaint can allow the dermatologist enough information to render a diagnosis. Then, they can send the necessary prescription directly to you or your chosen pharmacy. For even more convenience, you may even be able to schedule same-day delivery services from your pharmacy directly to your home.  For example, in 2019 CVS Pharmacy launched Same-Day, On-Demand Rx Delivery Nationwide for Prescriptions ( https://cvshealth.com/newsroom/press-releases/cvs-pharmacy-launches-same-day-demand-rx-delivery-nationwide ).

Refills & Renewing Prescriptions

 For chronic issues that your doctor knows about already, getting a prescription renewal or refills is even easier. Many skin problems like psoriasis need constant management for long-term periods. This makes online prescription renewals incredibly important. For your regular prescription that is working fine the last thing you want to do is take time off work and drive to a doctor’s office every time you need more medication.

 How do I get prescriptions filled in Canada?

 There has been some controversy over verifying online Canadian pharmacies for legitimacy.  It makes sense to shop around as Americans go searching for cheaper medication, especially when it comes to brand-named medications.  There are some prescription anti-inflammatory skin medications that can run you over $500 if you prefer not to go generic, for instance.  One study found that Americans may save a mean of about 24 percent per unit from Canadian online pharmacies or chemists compared to their U.S. counterparts. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16172438) Unfortunately, pharmacies in the U.S. will not typically transfer prescriptions to a Canadian pharmacy.  However, many online Canadian pharmacists will accept your valid prescription from a physician licensed to practice in your country of residence.

For example online Canadian pharmacies such as ycdscc.com (https://ycdscc.com/) get prescriptions from doctors from the U.S. and other countries every day.  It really depends on the doctor’s discretion and policies whether they will call-in a prescription to an online Canadian pharmacy from which you would like it to be dispensed.  You can always request a copy of the prescription yourself.  If you get an e-prescription you can also ask for a paper copy.

With any online pharmacies generally it is a best practice to place an order first, and then upload your prescription afterward.  That way your prescription is easier for the pharmacy to find, and your medication will not be placed on hold while they try to locate that prescription. It is also a best practice to discuss potential drug interactions with your doctor if you’re taking multiple medications.

Although some articles may warn that Canadian pharmacies can only accept prescriptions from Canadian practitioners, how it works for most is that these online pharmacies have a Canadian physician on staff who verifies the U.S. prescriptions and associated patient information, and then in turn issues a Canadian prescription.  This all happens behind the scenes of course, so the user experience is seamless.

 What Does Teledermatology Mean?

The definition of this term combines tele- from telecommunication and dermatology, which is the medical specialty related to the skin. ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teledermatology) Although online doctors and healthcare services have grown more popular these days, teledermatology tops the list of commonly used telemedicine types.

Teledermatology is basically synonymous with online dermatologist visits. The term was first used in 1995 when a pair of dermatologists promoted its use in rural communities that were not already served by physicians who focused on skin conditions and diseases.

 What Is a Teledermatology System?

The system your specific doctor uses to provide virtual consultations and checkups depends on their particular tastes and technological set up. From your end, a teledermatology system only requires logging onto the secure platform and using a camera with devices you typically already have in your home, i.e., your phone tablet, or computer, to communicate directly with your doctor.

You are able to do almost anything over the Internet that you can do at an in-person visit. Of course, the doctor cannot physically touch you, apply medications, or take vital statistics the same way that they may do in office. However, for many skin health issues, none of this is necessary. What you can do is quite extensive.

To stay in compliance with all necessary medical laws and regulations, you can sign consent forms, and read over instruction sheets right online.  And during your appointment you can ask questions directly, get help from nurses or other technicians, and have a virtual chat with your doctor live. You can also handle insurance paperwork, make secure payments directly for copays, deductibles, coinsurance, advanced skincare treatments like specialty anti-aging serums, whitening creams and more. All of these things do not change intrinsically, no matter what type of appointment you have: in person or virtual.

 Can I See a Dermatologist Online?

Yes. In fact, dermatology is one of the earliest and most popular specialties that used telemedicine. (https://www.goldsteinresearch.com/report/tele-dermatology-market-outlook-2024-global-opportunity-and-demand-analysis-market-forecast-2016-2024) The adoption of distance doctor services in the dermatological field continues to grow all over the world. It continues to expand throughout the industry today because it provides all necessary contact between the patient and the physician in the most convenient way possible.

In order to have an online doctor visit, however, you do need to choose a provider that uses a teledermatology system. Despite its amazing benefits, not all offices have adopted this innovative way of serving patients better yet. Dr. Buckner has long seen the incredible advantages of providing this service for many people who call for an appointment.

If you have not yet made up your mind about whether an online doctor consultation is right for you, consider these top three benefits.

Accuracy and Efficacy

 Both scientific studies and the anecdotal experiences of patients all around the world reveal that telederm services are highly accurate and effective at diagnosing skin conditions and prescribing appropriate medications and treatments for them. In fact, patients frequently get more specific care because they can see the doctor for shorter and more convenient periods of time. This allows for more consultations and follow-up virtual visits for better condition treatment over time.

A number of organizations have conducted telehealth and telemedicine studies.  The National Institutes of Health (NIH) in particular has been active.  The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI)   https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4193577/ ) and others such as the Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare have conducted such studies.  (https://dmice.ohsu.edu/hersh/jtt-02-tmeddx.pdf )

Time Savings

 No one can argue that getting into your car and driving to a doctor’s appointment in the next city or finding public transportation to do so will take more time than logging onto a web call from your phone or your own laptop from the comfort of your own home. Any browser will do.  Not only is the time savings amazingly helpful for patients just like you who have busy work schedules, family responsibilities, and social lives, but it allows the dermatologist to serve more patients more completely.

One of the best things about telemedicine is the fact that it can be done from anywhere or anytime as the doctor’s office allows. Because a very short meeting with your doctor online can include all necessary information and conversations, so everyone involved benefits greatly.

Less Expensive Healthcare

 Efficiency, time savings, and more accurate and effective diagnoses and treatment plans lead to less expense over time. In one research study about Internet doctors in the United States showed that an appointment could save up to $82 per patient. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5418871/) The economic value provided by these innovative systems is considerable. However, it is important to note that every case is different, doctors charge different amounts to begin with, and your specific care may have a very different price tag than the next patient’s does.

The medical billing industry sometimes refers to telehealth visits as “online digital evaluation and management (E/M) services.”  The CPT billing codes your insurance uses for telehealth visits, e.g., 99421 or 99422, may be different from in-person visits.

Since you can easily handle medical insurance paperwork and claims through a teledermatology system and even make payments securely, the financial side of online doctor’s visits is even easier than you expect.

 How Long Are Dermatology Appointments?

When you schedule a visit with your doctor online, they should be able to give you a general idea about how long it will take to actually log onto the system and speak with the dermatologist directly. Every appointment is different, of course. A follow-up consultation about a rash may take a lot less time than an initial appointment for a more serious skin condition.

That being said, an Internet doctor visit almost always takes less time than one where you have to drive to the office, sit in the waiting room for your appointment time, and then meet face-to-face. In fact, time savings is one of the major benefits of these types of healthcare systems, and is the major reason that more and more doctors adopt them every day.

 Can I See a Dermatologist Without Referral?

The answer to this question depends on what type of health insurance plan you have. For an initial visit as a rule of thumb it’s always best to first contact your insurance provider before making your doctor’s appointment to confirm the doctor you want to see is an in-network provider in your plan, and ask about any referral requirements.

If you signed up for a standard HMO, you have a primary care physician (PCP) who takes care of all your initial healthcare needs. You have to make an appointment with them in order to get a referral to any type of specialist, including a dermatologist. This ensures that all of your skin -related medical care will be covered by your insurance provider. Of course, you can go to a skin doctor directly if you pay cash.

If you have a PPO instead of an HMO, you do not have to get a referral from your primary care doctor in order to see a specialist.  The need for an initial visit with a primary care physician does not exist for PPO plans. This type of insurance can save you money on a wide variety of healthcare services that are approved by the system. However, you can also always go to any out-of-network provider and pay more for the privilege.

Therefore, the question about whether you can see a dermatologist without referral or not depends on your specific insurance carrier or payment choices. When in doubt, contact your provider or PCP if you have one to learn more. You may also contact the Dermatologist’s office directly to talk about which insurance plans are accepted, or if you can make direct payments for their services.

 When Should I See a Dermatologist?

This is one of the most important questions in this entire article. If you have a primary care provider who identifies some type of issue with your skin, they will give you a referral to a dermatologist. You should definitely keep that appointment because many skin conditions can be chronic or more serious than you first think. If you do not have a PCP who spots a problem area, you have to make the determination about visiting a dermatologist on your own.

Remember that a dermatologist does not only focus on your skin itself. The extended definition from the American Academy of Dermatology also includes your hair and nails. These parts of your body can give many indications of overall health and have a lot of different potentially serious health problems of their own. If you experience any of the following issues, the time has come for you to contact a qualified dermatologist and make an appointment.

Moles or Raised Freckles

 Any moles or similar growths on the skin deserve treatment so you look and feel your best. Also, irregular colors, shapes, and textures on a mole can indicate more serious issues like skin cancer. Pay particular attention to changes in your moles, including changes in shape, size or color.  Take note of new moles, or if a mole becomes raised, or looks different from other moles on your skin.  One of the most important dermatological services provided includes regular checks to make sure there are no signs of future problems.

Rashes, Itching, or Unusual Conditions

 To the average Joe, all rashes can pretty much look about the same.  They may be red, blotchy, itchy, etc.  And a lot of time an over-the-counter ointment or cream will do just fine.  It turns out most rashes are not life-threatening; however, there are some rashes that can be symptomatic of something more serious, especially for newborns.   Pay attention to things like blistering, infection, swelling, flaking, cracking, oozing, fever, fast spreads, or any associated pain.

And of course if you think you may have an STD presenting in a skin condition, most primary care physicians, gynecologists or urologists will refer you straight over to your dermatologist for diagnosis.

Whether you have already been diagnosed with eczema, psoriasis, or another skin condition, or are simply experiencing a distracting and uncomfortable itch or rash for the first time, an online doctor’s visit can help. Telederm services are especially useful for people with chronic issues who need frequent examinations and renewals of prescription medication.

Discoloration or Pigmentation Issues

 Everything from melasma to age spots can receive help from a qualified dermatologist. Fighting against the signs of aging or dealing with a chronic condition that affects the way you look and feel every day deserves professional help. These visual issues are easily handled with online doctor’s consultations.  Conditions like brown spot on skin (lentigo) are covered by insurance and can be treated by a dermatologist.  Also issues like rosacea, characterized by redness in the face and sometimes raised or red bumps that may be accompanied by dryness and sensitivity may be a reason to visit your dermatologist.

Acne or Frequent Breakouts

 People of all ages can get pimples or other blemishes. If you cannot manage them effectively with store-bought washes or creams, see a dermatologist for help. You do not have to suffer with unsightly breakouts or the potential scarring that comes from bad acne.

Unsightly Scars

 Skin damage and scarring can affect how you feel about yourself and your overall comfort every day. Do not shy away from cosmetic dermatology services that can truly help minimize the look of scars from injury, surgery, acne, or other types of skin damage.  Many fail to realize that scars that you may have suffered with for years are often covered by your insurance.  Things like stretch marks after pregnancy called striae, scars from burns, and raised scar like keloids are actually considered a medical condition.  Why it’s best to go in right away?  Often treating a scar when it first appears, before it heals is when you’ll get the best results.

If none of these specific conditions apply to you, but you still have complaints or concerns about your skin, hair, or nails, it makes sense to schedule an online appointment with a dermatologist who can give you a diagnosis or peace of mind that your body is working as intended. Remember that you do not have to have a serious health issue to get help with your skin. It is important to have effective medical care to look and feel your best every day.

 How Much Is an Online Doctor Visit?

You never have to pay extra to talk to a doctor online. Although cost savings happen in terms of your time and travel costs, every visit carries roughly the same cost or sometimes less than as an in-person visit. After all, you are getting the same care from a licensed and qualified dermatologist that you need to maintain optimum health and appearance.

One of the best things about virtual doctor visits is that you can handle all necessary legal and financial paperwork online. Added care is taken too for your security and privacy, and telehealth systems are HIPAA compliant, so you can rest assured that your private identifying and financial information is safe at all times.

The benefits of using an online dermatologist extend far beyond convenience. Now that you have all the answers to your most pressing questions, the choice to try teledermatology should be quite simple. For time savings, convenience, efficacy, online prescriptions, security, and financial control, these innovative systems pave the way for a brighter skin healthcare future.

 For more specific information about your dermatology and medical needs, contact Dr. Buckner’s offices today. (https://dr-buckner.com) We are happy to answer your questions about teledermatology services and schedule an online Dr. visit. You may also use the convenient online ZocDoc ( https://zocdoc.com/doctor/dorothy-buckner-md-12878 ) system to choose your appointment time.