What is Teledermatology?
Teledermatology is the use of smart phone, fax or Internet technology to allow patients to get a quick and convenient Dermatological consultation without a face to face visit with their Dermatologist. This consultation by electronic means can be done in the convenience of their own home, office or within the confines of their Primary Care Doctor's office. By providing Dr. Franco through electronic means, a history of their Dermatological problem, a summary of their general medical history and photos of their skin problem, he is able to provide them with an expert evaluation of their skin problem.
HOW DOES TELEDERMATOLOGY WORK?
By accessing our website and filling out the forms that are provided online you will provide us with a history of your skin problem along with a general medical history. These forms are preformatted and requires that you simply fill in the blanks with answers to the questions that the various forms contain. You will then return the forms along with the various photos of your skin condition back to us. Your medical information along with your photos are then reviewed by Dr. Franco to provide you with an expert diagnosis and treatment plan all within a two day span.
This whole process is undertaken using a secure platform called "ShareFile". Sharefile is a portal that allows for files to be "shared" online in a secure and safe mode by encrypting all data that is shared between the physician and the patient. "ShareFile" allows us to make certain that your medical information is not shared or viewed by any unauthorized individual other than Dr. Franco, his office staff and any other assistants officially involved in the Teledermatology process.
After registering for and requesting a Teledermatology consultation through our website you will be sent a file(s) containing the necessary forms that need to be filled out. You then send the completed forms back to us through the "Sharefile" portal. Lastly, the photos of your skin condition will need to be uploaded and sent to us through this same "ShareFile" portal. When these simple steps are successfully completed, Dr. Franco will then complete the consultation process by reviewing all this information and relaying his diagnosis and recommended treatment plan through the ShareFile portal back to your e-mail address.
What is the difference between Teledermatology and Telemedicine?
Teledermatology is a Telemedicine consultation focused on a Dermatological problem. A Telemedicine consult can either be conducted using still photos or video. Teledermatology can also employe photos or videos but still photos are the most commonly used visual format in Teledermatology.
Does my insurance company pay for my Teledermatology (Telemedicine) consultation?
No. At the present time private insurances and Medicare do not pay for a Telemedicine consultation. You will be required to pay online using a credit card during the initial patient registration process.
Does a Teledermatology Consultation service take the place of my Dermatologist?
No. Many of the Dermatological problems that are seen in the office can be diagnosed and treated through a Teledermatology consult but not all. There will instances where the skin conditon is not diagnosable by a Teledermatology consult or requires confirmation by biopsy or in-office examination. If a growth that was previously evaluated changes or behaves in an unexpected way or a skin rash does not respond or actually worsens despite the therapy provided an office evaluatin with Dr. Franco, your PCP or another Dermatologist of your choice will be recommended at that time.
If it is determined I need to be seen in the office for the same problem, will I be charged for that visit also?
Yes. The Teledermatology visit is considered separate and apart from any subsequent office visits that are deemed necessary. Both the Teledermatology consult and any necesary follow up office visit will be charged separately.
Who should get a Teledermatology consult?
Any Patient that already has seen Dr. Franco (1) that feels their skin condition requires immediate expert evaluation or care (2) does not want the inconvenience of a traditional office visit or wait time (3) Patients that are out of town and cannot come in for a visit. Please note that currently we can only offer our Teledermatology services to Texas residents.
What skin conditions can be diagnosed by a Teledermatology consult?
Most skin rashes like eczema, contact dermatitis, allergic reactions, hives, blisters, psoriasis, lichen planus, granuloma annulare, pityriasis rosea as well as most skin infections like impetigo, herpes, shingles, boils, fungal infections, cellulitis, folliculitis, acne, warts can be evaluated by Teledermatology. Most growths like Skin cysts (EIC), moles, dermatofibromas, skin tags, seborrheic keratosis, hemangiomas, oil gland enlargement are also diagnosable "online". Some skin cancers such as Basal cell carcinomas and Squamous cell carcinomas can be preliminarily diagnosed but would require an office visit and biopsy for confirmation. Most hair or nail problems like alopecia areata, telogen effluvium, androgeneic hair loss, nail fungus, abnormal nails as well as Skin pigment abnormalities like vitiligo, sun spots, hyperpigmentation, melasma can be evaluated by Teledermatologists.
What kind of photos are best for a Teledermatology consult?
Most photos can be taken using the camera mode of any modern day smartphone or digital camera. The photos should include distant shots along with close up shot of all rashes to show their distribution. Take close up shots of any skin growth at different angles. Take frontal shots and at least one side view of any skin lesion or rash. Make sure all photos are in clear focus and not over exposed.
What should I do if I am unable to complete the Teledermatology consultation process online?
Please call our office and we will walk you through the process.
What are some absolute do's and don't when submitting my Teledermatology consult?
Do not use a public computer to transmit your patient data, always use a secure personal computer.
Do not transmit any of your patient data outside the "ShareFile" portal and after completing the transmission make sure all "ShareFile" windows are closed.