The role of today’s digital world in dermatology is much more important than we think. Almost all of us have suffered from some type of skin ailment at least once in our lives. So to prevent that problem from causing severe damage to our skin or body, measures like early detection and timely intervention are extremely crucial. Digital Health involves the usage of the online mode of communication to ensure that a doctor is able to provide the necessary medical help and consultation to treat their patients. With the help of your smartphones, you can not only book an appointment with your dermatologist, but you can also use many dermatology-based apps that can help diagnose skin-related issues at an early stage thus leading to better treatment. Keeping the above points in mind, we will try and address the question of why Digital Health has the potential to become a crucial element in the field of dermatology and skincare:
- Proper Diagnosis – Digital tools have allowed you to connect with your dermatologist virtually and that can be a big help when a visit to their clinic is not a feasible option (especially amid a raging Corona pandemic). It has made the whole process much simpler. There are specific dermatology-based apps that allow users to take pictures of the affected area and describe the symptoms they are suffering from. Several clinics also have a separate online registration process of their own where you need to send in all your relevant details along with those photos of the affected area. This data is then sent to professional skincare specialists who can then diagnose the problem. These are certified experts whose advice can be counted upon.
- Effective Treatment – Online consultation with your dermatologist can help them make a decision on whether your skin condition is serious enough to warrant a visit to their clinic for treatment or not. In case your infection is not that serious then those dermatologists can suggest things like lifestyle changes, change in diet along medicines. There are several dermatology apps that use things like machine learning, artificial intelligence, and sensors to diagnose certain ailments without the help of a skin specialist.
- Providing vital information for doctors – There are specific dermatology-based apps that help provide details of solved cases and also serve as a knowledge centre for several skincare diseases/disorders for doctors, medical students, nurses, skin experts, and other health practitioners. When such information is readily available for diseases like fungal infections, acne, eczema, alopecia, vitiligo, bacterial infections; it ends up helping your medical practitioner diagnose your condition and also provide timely treatment.
- Time-Saving – Normally it would take weeks to get an appointment with a good skin specialist since they are always in huge demand. But with digital apps, this problem is resolved to a great extent. Not only that you don’t have to visit their clinic and wait there every single time to check on a particular skin problem. The widening scope of digital health allows you to have an online consultation with your dermatologists who can also then provide you with the required medication and treatment plan. In case they prescribe any medicines for treatment, you don’t need to visit a pharmacy because several of these apps allow your prescription to be sent to them and also ensure that those medicines are delivered right at your doorstep.
- Focus on the task at hand – One advantage of online consultation with your dermatologist is that it greatly reduces the administrative tasks that they are supposed to undertake for each and every patient. Since all of this is being done digitally, the chances of error become minimal thus ensuring seamless flow of information as well. These apps also put a brake on the repetitive and mundane tasks that allow the dermatologist much more time to focus on the patient and monitor their condition. All of these things end up in ensuring effective diagnosis and proper treatment.
- Wider Reach – While a dermatology clinic is mostly accessible to a limited group of people living in and around the clinic, almost anyone from around the globe can reach a skin specialist via the online medium. This mode of consultation with a skin specialist can allow those living in far-off areas to get proper medical advice without worrying about whether they have access to a dermatology clinic. It is also a great help for someone who is an outpatient or is under home care and is not able to travel to a local clinic.
- Cost-Effective – Using digital tools also makes the whole process affordable both for the doctors and their patients. Your doctor will not have to spend time and resources towards record keeping of their patient’s medical data because the dermatology apps will be able to do that. They also wouldn’t need to physically examine patients whose diagnosis can be done through online consultation only which can also result in further economies. When it comes to the patients, they will not have to worry about visiting the dermatology clinic and/or the pharmacy every time they have a skin-related problem. This results in considerable savings things like transportation costs. Plus since the consultation is done online there aren’t any hidden costs which also help in cutting down on the overall expenses.
It wouldn’t be an understatement to say that digitization has truly changed the scope of healthcare. Like all other fields of the medical ecosystem, dermatology has also undergone a sea change because of this and this has resulted in immense benefits for both doctors and patients. At a time like this when the menace of Corona Virus has made a visit to your dermatologist almost impossible, online consultation has become a lifesaver for those suffering from skin-related problems. Digital Health can help dermatologists reach the remote corners of the world and provide timely assistance to millions who were hitherto unable to take advantage of this field of study.