Dermatologists as Telemedicine Pioneers

March, 2 2021

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This month at Health iPASS, we are focusing on all things dermatology. If we are talking about your skin, especially if your workplace requires you to wear a mask, there is a major issue facing many of us. In a word? Maskne. And if you work in healthcare, you are likely wearing tighter masks, and even multiple layers of masks to protect yourself and the patients you encounter every day. Even according to The New York Times, maskne is a real thing. Wearing that mask day in and day out wreaks havoc on your skin by trapping dirt and moisture. Your face bumps could also be due to the additional stresses many are feeling during this time—you name it. No matter the reason, many of us are experiencing increased skin concerns, and therefore might be thinking about visiting a dermatologist. And if you happen to be a derm provider, you might be seeing a surge in patient visits, especially with the public now embracing telemedicine, a trend that arguably was pioneered by dermatologists beginning in the 1990s.

 

For obvious reasons, use of telemedicine has surged during the pandemic. According to FAIR Health, an nonprofit organization that tracks commercial insurance claims as part of a healthcare cost transparency initiative, October 2020 saw a 3,060% increase in telehealth usage over October 2019. One of the specialties seeing the most success in regard to telemedicine? You guessed it— our friends in dermatology.

 

Let’s take a trip in the Wayback Machine for a second to circa 2015 when seven community health centers serving low-income areas in Massachusetts began using a coordinated teledermatology service. Data collected from over 850 visits from November 2016 through May of 2018 revealed that half of the telemedicine consults did not require an in-person visit with a specialist. Just that piece alone led to an estimated savings of nearly $75,000 for the providers in the first 19 months of the program, not to mention the time savings for staff making referrals, and the patient cost savings on transportation, time off work, and in-person visit copays.

 

Clearly the telemedicine effort reduced costs for the healthcare centers and enabled primary care providers to better manage & coordinate care for patients with skin concerns. With the aforementioned current rise in telemedicine use, there may be a silver lining here somewhere to the cloud of COVID-19 upheavals. Dermatologists were already leading the charge to promote telemedicine adoption, and the recent industry disruptions due to COVID have presented the opportunity encourage this adoption further. When opportunity knocks, you answer! Happily, Health iPASS is here to help collect patient dollars for dermatologists, and any provider who needs assistance managing patient intake, check-in, & payments for everything from telemedicine visits to in-office cosmetics product purchases.

 

If you’d like a demo on how Health iPASS works to provide better revenue for services & products through a better check-in experience, please visit our website. Even better, read over our dermatology case study to see the results one derm group in Texas was able to achieve with Health iPASS. 

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