What are the benefits and limitations?
Of course, I always prefer to see my patients, especially for the first time face-to-face, but sometimes it can be more helpful for you to have a video consultation from the comfort of your own home. I am thinking of those already overstretched mums with small children where organising childcare would add unhealthy additional stress to their life. But equally for the patients who find their skin rash too upsetting to leave the house…However, be mindful that not everything can be done online.
Skin conditions that are better suited for online consultations are any facial skin eruptions such as acne/rosacea and skin conditions that come and go such as eczema/psoriasis/urticaria. An acute rash that is limited to a small area of the body can also be seen, if only to reassure you or to guide you what to do if it worsens. Video consultations are also great to discuss personalised skin care in general or questions you have regarding how to improve the state of your skin without necessarily having a pathological skin problem. I am a little reluctant to see widespread body eruptions as well as lumps and bumps. I find that people often worry about good skin lesions such as wisdom warts (medical term seborrheic keratosis) but when we examine the whole body in clinic, we pick up something else.
Ideally, I decide case by case whether you can be seen online or whether I prefer you to come to the clinic. I take into account patients who live far away and cannot come in or those who have child care issues, then I will be offering an online consult in less ideal situations.
Once booked in for the video consultation, you’ll receive the link for the online waiting room. The best way of action is for you to send in photos of the skin problem prior to the video consult. These are then studied prior to the consultation (and uploaded to your medical file) and are often more informative than the images seen during the video consultation. Be mindful that sometimes you will have to wait a little bit in the online waiting room, just like in the real world!