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Chime In: Would You See a Dermatologist Online?

A patient having his blood pressure taken by a... Well, you can't have your blood pressure taken over a computer screen (yet), that's for certain.
With the average wait to see a physician hovering over 21 days, services like ZocDoc are allowing patients to search for a dermatologist online or via their smart phone, and book an appointment as soon as possible.  More than 40% of ZocDoc users are able to see a physician within 24 hours, and more than 60% see a doctor within 3 days. Best of all, it is free to the patient.  (The dermatologist pays a small monthly fee to be listed on the site). On the other hand, some practices also allow you to have an entire appointment with a dermatologist online.  Studies show that teledermatology and convention dermatology have similar outcomes (BMJ, 2000) when it comes to accuracy of diagnosis.  Still, this brings up a lot of other questions:  Will patients be as satisfied without the face-to-face experience?  Are patients as likely feel loyalty to a dermatologist online as opposed to in person? What do you think about teledermatology?  Let me know in Comments - I'd love to hear what you think!
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Date: July 14 2012 at 11:42 AM

Comments (8)

  1. Phyrra
    July 14 2012 at 4:43 PM

    I might see one if I had a question about whether or not a mole was serious. If it looked serious, would the online dermatologist be able to refer the patient to someone in person to remove it?

  2. Nicholas
    July 15 2012 at 7:31 AM

    I am not sure how my derm could do a complete check on my body and scalp unless I saw her in person. I think that the face to face relationship with my doctors is very important. My dermatologist takes time to answer all my questions when I see her. I could see these online visits being a helpful tool for someone with acne or a rash maybe but I'd rather just see a doctor in person.

  3. Lynn
    July 15 2012 at 12:13 PM

    Yes for things that don't require docs too take a closer look at. If i can get questions answered without long waits and it doesn't require me to get a web cam or video chat.

  4. DRTVrMoi
    July 15 2012 at 1:37 PM

    I'd use telederms as a pre-screening service. I would still make my appointment with my personal physician, but would utilize the online input to determine if I still needed a personal appointment. This question reminds me of Showtime's Web Therapy. If you haven't seen it, you should. It's what every enduser fears.

  5. Nicki
    July 15 2012 at 1:54 PM

    @Phyrra - I'm sure that any diagnosis that requires further, in-person care (including scary moles!) will be taken care of via some sort of referral. I can't imagine this working otherwise, but that's a great question!

  6. Nicki
    July 15 2012 at 1:55 PM

    @Nicholas - I could see that working as well. During a 15-minute digital appointment, hopefully you can skillfully draw it out to get all of your answers. Another great concern/question to have about this type of service.

  7. Nicki
    July 15 2012 at 1:56 PM

    @Lynn - It's a shame it's not the other way around - I'd love it if people with bigger concerns could see physicians faster. Then again, if smaller concerns are addressed via teledermatology, I suppose bigger concerns would be allocated more time.

  8. Nicki
    July 15 2012 at 1:56 PM

    @DRTVrMoi - I'll definitely look into it! Thanks! Sounds like something right up my alley.

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