An online dermatologist can be a great option for those seeking acne treatment, and more, in New York State.
An online dermatologist has become a popular option– especially for acne treatment. Although New York City has a high concentration of dermatologists, the rest of the Empire state is largely underserved. Technology makes it possible for a virtual dermatologist to help a patient located anywhere. Easy breezy!–but not so fast! There are laws and best practices that govern teledermatology. Here are some things to consider if you are a patient in New York State.
Does it matter if the online dermatologist is located in my state?
A doctor licensed in New York State is allowed to see patients in a virtual visit if any of the following apply:
- the patient is a resident of New York state
- the patient is physically in New York state at the time of the virtual visit– even if they are not a New York state resident
- the patient has an established in-person relationship with the doctor regardless of the patient’s current location
- if you are seeing a dermatologist not located in New York state, they should have a New York state medical license
This mean that, for example, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City can provide online acne treatment for a patient who is looking for a dermatologist in Western New York, Albany, Buffalo, Syracuse, Poughkeepsie, or even the town of Patchogue on Long Island. In other words, as long as you are a New Yorker, or physically in New York state, you can see any dermatologist in New York be they nearby or located a 5 hour drive away.
Tip: Have your pharmacy information available at the time of your visit. New York state requires that prescriptions be sent electronically.
Virtual dermatologist credentials still matter
A board-certified dermatologist is the most expert and the best option for treating acne– both in person and online. Treat your search for your online doctor with the same respect you would one you would see in person. Given the ease with which technology allows online acne treatment to take place, many with less expertise (e.g. doctors who are not board-certified in dermatology, nurse practitioners, physician assistants and aestheticians) aggressively market online acne consultations. In fact, many times when patients are specifically searching for an online dermatologist, other types of practitioners are offered instead. Consider:
- Just because you think you have acne, does not mean that your diagnosis is correct. Practitioners on an online acne treatment platform may not know the difference between acne and other skin conditions. They may just offer acne treatment regardless of what you have. This could cause other problems.
- Online care requires MORE expertise– not less. Virtual visits can work well for acne, but they are still less thorough than an in-person exam. It’s best to have your online acne consultation with a board-certified dermatologist who better understands the limitations of virtual care.
- Board-certified dermatologists can offer the most options for treatment.
A virtual dermatologist near me may give you more options
Much of the time, acne treatment can be managed medically by a doctor online. Sometimes, however, procedures such as steroid injections, extractions for whitehead removal, or chemical peels are recommended. Procedures have to be done in person. Even if you are choosing virtual service, it is nice to have the option to come into the office should that improve your quality of care. If you are in upstate, however, and you think the best dermatologist in New York is in Manhattan, you can still get great care for acne with an online doctor visit.
Read: 6 ways to find a dermatologist near me
Online doctor visit type: real-time consult or pictures? Clinic style or private?
Another thing to consider when choosing online acne treatment is the consultation style you prefer. Some virtual dermatologist appointments happen in real time– but just on video. This allows you to ask questions in real-time just like in-person care. Other online acne consultations occur using photos patients take at one time which the dermatologist examines later. Communication takes place via messaging. Also, it’s important to decide if you want to see a specific doctor, such as a private practice doctor who also offers teledermatology, or if you are open to online platforms that have a team of people who take turns seeing whoever is next.
Do you have the technology to do your part in an online dermatologist visit?
In order to have a successful consultation with an online dermatologist, you, too, will need a good internet connection and technology to use a telemedicine platform be it video or photo. If you are doing a video consult, make sure you have privacy and adequate lighting. You will also have to register remotely, which will likely require an e-mail address or cellphone number to communicate with your doctor.
Read: Dr. Strachan’s interview in Authority Magazine on Telehealth best practices
Seeing an online dermatologist is now easier than ever. Treating acne online is a great option for many patients. Know the rules for teledermatology in your state. Maintain your standard of care.