Your dermatology telehealth appointment: a five-step guide

Photo of dermatologist examining skin

Have you booked your teledermatology skin check this summer?

Australia has one of the highest skin cancer rates in the world: According to the Cancer Council, at least two in three Australians will be diagnosed with some form of skin cancer before the age of 70. This is due to a variety of factors – Australia’s climate, its proximity to the equator (high UV levels), social attitudes including a love of the outdoors, and a population with a high percentage of fair-skinned people who are more prone to sun damage.

To ensure that Australians continue to have regular skin checks with their dermatologist during the pandemic, The Australasian College of Dermatologists has been promoting teledermatology consultations as a Covid-safe way to maintain skin health.

Intended to be delivered alongside traditional face-to-face dermatology consultations, teledermatology ensures continuity of care for Australians who have trouble accessing health services, such as aged care residents, medically remote patients, and patients isolating due to infection concerns.

A five-step teledermatology guide: what to think about and how to prepare

To ensure patients get the most out of their teledermatology appointment, The Australasian College of Dermatologists has created an easy-to-use teleguide that includes five simple steps:

  1. Make your appointment: Phone to book. Discuss any concerns. Ask about cost. You can have a family member, carer, support person or interpreter join you for the appointment.
  2. Providing your health information and photos: You or your GP may need to send a referral letter and/or photo of the affected area of your skin.
  3. Getting ready for your appointment: Think about the questions you want to ask. Find a quiet space and have your health information with you. Set up your devices and technology.
  4. During your appointment: Speak clearly. Ask questions. Say if you cannot hear or understand.
  5. At the end of your appointment: Check the next steps. Repeat back any actions and ask about prescriptions, tests, information, and where you can find support.

Telehealth guidelines for dermatologists

To support dermatologists practising teledermatology, The Australasian College of Dermatologists, in conjunction with The University of Queensland’s Centre for Online Health, have created a set of telehealth guidelines.

These guidelines aim to inform dermatologists practising in Australia of best practice in teledermatology and provide guidance to standardise and support the appropriate, safe, and effective use of teledermatology in the provision of patient care.

The guidelines also include supporting notes that cover:

  • Appropriate technology, environment, and practices to ensure quality, confidentiality, and privacy.
  • Patient selection.
  • Informed consent.
  • Requisite quality of information – clinical image acquisition and review.
  • Medical records – storing clinical images securely.

According to the Cancer Council, you are at increased risk of developing skin cancer if you have:

  • lots of moles or freckles
  • fair skin that burns easily and does not tan
  • light coloured eyes (blue or green), light coloured hair (blonde or red)
  • suffered sunburns, particularly as a child
  • a family history of skin cancer
  • used solaria
  • spent lots of time in the sun, even if sunscreen was used.

Visionflex has the ideal clinical teledermatology solution for your practice:

Photo of ProEX Telehealth Hub by Visionflex
Logo for ProEX by Visionflex

ProEX Telehealth Hub

Capturing clear and precise high-quality medical images has never been easier on this handheld device – Find out more

Photo of GEIS General Examination Camera with light and dermatology hood attachment
Logo of GEIS® General Examination Camera HD

General Examination Camera HD

Capturing clear and precise high-quality medical images has never been easier on this handheld device – Find out more

Photo of Riester Multi-Functional Camera

Riester Multi-Functional HD Camera Kit

Versatile, wireless medical camera kit that allows quick and efficient capture and share images with multiple lens attachments. – Find out more

Photo of Horus Scope in cradle

Horus Digital Scope HD

Multi integrated, easy-to-use hand-held HD imaging system with interchangeable lenses – Find out more

Visionflex – the clinical telehealth experts.