What is telehealth and why should you consider it?

October 7, 2022
min read
What is telehealth and why should you consider it?

Telehealth allows patients to connect with doctors over a video or phone call and exchange messages or files via email, text or secure messaging systems. The rocketing demand for telehealth during the pandemic led to policy changes, allowing doctors to also provide healthcare via apps like FaceTime, Zoom and Facebook Messenger. It’s now easier than ever for many people to access medical advice without leaving home.

Telehealth urgent care is a great option for common conditions like migraines, sinus infections, colds, coughs and Covid-19, while other services range from therapy for mental health issues to post-surgical follow-ups and physical rehabilitation. 

Skin conditions can also be addressed by connecting with US dermatology partners and while you might wonder how well health problems can be diagnosed via video calls or photos, the heavy visual aspect of dermatology means many issues can be addressed virtually. One provider noted 70% of their cases are able to be treated with over-the-counter medications, while in-person consultations are recommended for more serious conditions. 

Many companies offer quick, user-friendly services, where all you have to do is snap pics of your skin condition, upload onto their app, send in details about the issue and receive a diagnosis within 24 hours. Some consultations may also be covered by insurance, so it’s worth checking in with your provider before finding a service.

With in-person healthcare logistics having become more complicated during the pandemic, telehealth has many other advantages, such as limiting exposure to Covid-19 in a doctor’s office, cutting down waits for appointments, saving travel time and allowing patients to access doctors and specialists who are far from their hometown. 

It could also be more affordable, with some services available for $40. A 2022 study by Int J Environ Res Public Health indicated that follow-up teledermatology services in particular can be more cost-effective than in-person follow-ups.

Before a telehealth consultation with US dermatology partners, the American Academy of Dermatology Association advises noting down medications you take, allergies and when your symptoms began, taking clear, well-lit images of the affected areas, ditching make-up and avoiding anything which will irritate the skin beforehand.

Telehealth continues growing amid the pandemic – a survey by the American Medical Association showed the percentage of physicians using tele-visits grew from 14% in 2016 to 80% in 2022, while those using remote monitoring devices grew from 12% in 2016 to 30% in 2022. However, combining telehealth with in-person care and annual skin examinations is also encouraged.


AMA Digital Health Research. AMA. Retrieved from https://www.ama-assn.org/system/files/ama-digital-health-study.pdf 

Chow, A., Teo, S.H., Kong, J.W., Lee, S., Heng, Y.K., Steensel, M., & Smith, H. Experiences of Telemedicine for Their Skin Problems: Qualitative Study. JMIR Publications, Vol 5, No 1. Retrieved from https://derma.jmir.org/2022/1/e24956/ 

State of Telehealth. The New England Journal of Medicine. Retrieved from http://file.medtrib.cn/pdf/61983c28-94ca-4bc6-8a5c-27191b368cdf/NEJM%20State%20of%20Telehealth%201601705.pdf 

López-Liria,R., Valverde-Martínez, M. A., López-Villegas, A., Bautista-Mesa, R. J., Vega-Ramírez, F. A., Peiró, S., & Leal-Costa, C. Teledermatology versus Face-to-Face Dermatology: An Analysis of Cost-Effectiveness from Eight Studies from Europe and the United States. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8909884/ 

Policy changes during Covid-19. Telehealth.hhs.gov. Retrieved from https://telehealth.hhs.gov/providers/policy-changes-during-the-covid-19-public-health-emergency/ 

What is telehealth? Telehealth.hhs.gov. Retrieved from https://telehealth.hhs.gov/patients/understanding-telehealth/ 

Telemedicine: How to Prepare. American Academy of Dermatology Association. Retrieved from https://www.aad.org/public/fad/telemedicine/telemedicine-prepare-appointment

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