Psoriasis: Telehealth Appointments with Your Dermatologist

During the pandemic, telehealth may become a part of your psoriasis treatment plan. Here’s how to make it work.

A woman connects with her dermatologist using a telehealth application on her computer.

During the pandemic, many people are opting to stay at home as much as possible. Unfortunately, this has resulted in many people skipping routine healthcare appointments.

Additionally, people with existing chronic conditions like psoriasis have legitimate concerns about COVID-19. These include concerns about severe outcomes from a COVID-19 infection, concerns about taking medications that alter immune function during a pandemic, concerns about access to healthcare during periods of lockdown or restricted hours, and many others.

For those who want to avoid a healthcare provider’s office, telehealth appointments offer an alternative to in-person visits. Telehealth is one of 22 points covered in the National Psoriasis Foundation COVID-19 Task Force Guidance for Management of Psoriatic Disease During the Pandemic.

Telehealth appointments can be done through your smartphone or computer. Adjusting to this type of appointment may feel challenging, but there are some strategies that can help make your visit go smoothly.

  • Collect everything you would normally bring to an in-person appointment. This includes your identification, insurance card, a list of medications you are currently taking, and a list of questions and topics you want to cover during the appointment.
  • Ask your healthcare provider if there are any forms you need to fill out before your appointment.
  • Make sure you are in a well-lighted area so your healthcare provider can properly see you.
  • Your internet connection should be strong and reliable. Know what applications you will be using, and download and test everything beforehand. If you have problems with an application, contact your telehealth provider for help.
  • If needed, take pictures of affected areas and send them ahead of time—good lighting and good quality are helpful. If you can, take pictures of the affected areas from multiple angles.
  • Find a private space for your appointment. If you live in a space with other people, move to a quiet room in order to avoid distractions.

At the end of your appointment, ask your healthcare provider what the next steps are. These may include filling a prescription, scheduling a follow-up visit, or a phone call to check in. In other cases, your healthcare provider may recommend an in-person appointment or a visit to a lab for blood work or other diagnostic testing. If you are visiting a healthcare office, be sure to ask what measures are in place to ensure your safety, such as wearing a face mask and socially distancing from other patients.

While there are still many unknowns about how COVID-19 can or could impact people living with psoriatic disease, people with psoriasis are advised to continue with treatment during the pandemic, as well as keep up with other aspects of routine healthcare.

Article sources open article sources

Mark E. Czeisler, Kristy Marynak, et al. "Delay or Avoidance of Medical Care Because of COVID-19–Related Concerns — United States, June 2020." Morbitity and Mortality Weekly Report, 2020. Vol. 69, No. 36.
Joel M. Gelfand, April W. Armstrong, et al. "National Psoriasis Foundation COVID-19 Task Force Guidance for Management of Psoriatic Disease During the Pandemic: Version 1." Elsvier Public Health Emergency Collectio, 2020. Vol. 83, No. 6.
U.S. Dermatology Partners. "Get Ready for Your Telehealth Appointment with U.S. Dermatology Partners."
Ali Venosa. "Five Tips to Prepare for a Teledermatology Appointment." Skin Cancer Foundation. April 30, 2020.
National Psoriasis Foundation. "3 Ways to Improve Your Telehealth Visit."
American Academy of Dermatology Association. "7 simple steps to prepare for your telemedicine appointment."
Kristina Liu. "The doctor will “see” you now: Teledermatology in the era of COVID-19." Havard Health Publishing. June 4, 2020.
Adam R. Ford, Caitlin M. Gibbons, et al. "Access to Dermatological Care with an Innovative Online Model for Psoriasis Management:Results from a Randomized Controlled Trial." Telemedicine journal and e-health : the official journal of the American Telemedicine Association, 2018. Vol. 27, No. 7.
American Academy of Dermatology Association. "What should I expect after my telemedicine appointment?"
Johns Hopkins Medicine. "Don't Avoid Your Doctor During the Coronavirus Pandemic."

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