Care of the future
10 December 2021
Dermatology was one of the first medical specialties to adopt telemedicine as a mainstream approach to care.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, teledermatology presents an especially valuable tool for ensuring care continuity and treatment stability. In an effort to combat the hazardous effects of lapsed visits, dermatologists quickly embraced virtual visits. Virtual consultations, or hybrid consultations where patients send pictures to the dermatologists ahead of a scheduled video call, were offered to people living with psoriatic disease, and to provide new diagnosis and follow-up. Amid the explosion of teledermatology, reactions by people receiving treatment for psoriatic disease were mixed.
People living with psoriatic disease frequently experience long wait times and have difficulty maintaining access to dermatologists for follow-up care because of near-universal shortages of dermatologists. Teledermatology can help people in need of specialist care by increasing access, which is certainly important. Moreover, virtual visits present a number of benefits for people living with psoriatic disease that go beyond access alone. Teledermatology also opens the door for enhanced collaboration and communication between healthcare providers, helping to advance a holistic and person-centred approach to care.
Even though the benefits of teledermatology are multifold, the evolving practice does present some potential pitfalls and limitations in caring for people with psoriatic disease.
A new virtually connected and collaborative health care model is needed for psoriatic disease care. As virtual visits explode in popularity, and are increasingly embraced by necessity and preference, the psoriatic disease community needs an innovative care continuum that leverages the promise of telemedicine to increase collaboration, quality, and efficiency both within the field of dermatology and across disease areas.
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