It has been a long and difficult few months for us all as we have been dealing with the challenges presented by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Luckily, the outlook on things is starting to improve, and we are beginning to see a bright spot on the other side of this trying time. In light of recent changes to the COVID-19 safety recommendations, U.S. Dermatology Partners locations are now able to offer in-person treatment visits for a larger number of our patients. We still encourage individuals who are at high risk to carefully consider treatment options before scheduling an in-office appointment, but we are taking extra precautions to ensure patient health and safety for those that do visit our practices. You can read more about when it’s appropriate to visit our offices and what to expect from our team members in this blog. And, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our team members to find out more.
When Should I see My Dermatologist During the COVID-19 Pandemic?
There are many common dermatologic needs can be met with a virtual dermatology appointment with the U.S. Dermatology Partners team. But, for those who are dealing with more serious skin health issues or who have been struggling to get flareups in chronic skin conditions under control, an in-office visit for more advanced diagnosis and treatment is required. Some of the dermatologic conditions that require a visit to our office include:
- Bumps or lumps below the surface of the skin that can’t necessarily be seen clearly via video chat require an in-person evaluation so we can see and feel the lump, ensuring we have a clear idea of the size, shape, and texture to provide the right treatment response.
- Breakouts or flareups in chronic skin conditions (acne, eczema, psoriasis, etc.) that do not clear up with treatment or that seem to be getting worse even when following the dermatologist-recommended treatment plan.
- Potentially infected areas (boils, cysts, etc.) that need to be drained to avoid serious health issues.
- Skin cancer patients should follow the advice of their dermatologist when it comes to starting/restarting treatments to address cancerous lesions.
- Those who have not been diagnosed with skin cancer but who notice a change or development in a skin lesion they suspect to be cancerous will want to schedule an in-person consultation, especially if the lesion grows or changes quickly.
- Severe skin rashes, especially those on the face, require an in-person visit to stop the spread of the rash and prevent the skin condition from impacting vision or breathing. If your skin rash has already negatively impacted your vision or breathing, you may want to consider visiting your local emergency room for immediate care.
What Should I Expect When Visiting U.S. Dermatology Partners?
At U.S. Dermatology Partners, we are doing our utmost to provide a safe treatment environment for every patient who visits us. This includes taking extra precautions to keep the office clean, promote social distancing, and protect the health and wellness of our patients. When you schedule an in-office visit, your dermatology team will be in touch with you to discuss specific steps being taken in the office location. Some of the precautions we’re taking to protect patient health include:
- Screening employees and patients for COVID-19 symptoms before they enter our facilities
- Creating space between seating in common areas and/or implementing an alternative waiting room protocol where patients are asked to wait in their vehicles until the dermatologist is ready for them
- Frequently cleaning and sanitizing common areas, including waiting rooms, restrooms, and patient treatment rooms
- Wearing face masks and gloves when interacting with others
- Limiting the number of employees, patients, and caregivers in the office at a time
- Providing education for our team members about the latest information, safety recommendations, and restrictions from federal, state, and local authorities
Can I Still Schedule a Teledermatology Session?
While we’re happy to resume offering more in-office sessions, we still request that anyone who has been in contact with individuals who are positively diagnosed with COVID-19, has recently traveled out of the state or country, or who has symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, fatigue, cough, shortness of breath, gastrointestinal issues, loss of smell or taste) stay home and schedule a teledermatology visit for their safety and that of our patients and team members.
Additionally, we encourage those individuals who are considered to be at a higher risk to stay at home and schedule an online dermatology session. As of May 18, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considers anyone who fits the following descriptions to be high-risk individuals:
- Chronic lung disease or asthma
- Congestive heart failure or coronary artery disease
- Neurologic conditions that weaken the ability to cough
- Weakened immune system
- Chemotherapy or radiation for cancer (currently or in recent past)
- Sickle cell anemia
- Chronic kidney disease requiring dialysis
- Cirrhosis of the liver
- Lack of spleen or a spleen that doesn’t function correctly
- Extreme obesity
- People who are pregnant
- People 65 years and older
- People who live in a nursing home or long-term care facility
How do I Schedule an In-Office Visit at U.S. Dermatology Partners?
If you would like to visit U.S. Dermatology Partners in person for dermatology treatment, please use our simple request form to get started. Once we receive your information, a team member at the location nearest to your home will be in touch to discuss the details of your visit, including any additional screening steps you can expect before your appointment.
If you would prefer to schedule an online teledermatology appointment, you can do so using our virtual dermatology visit request form online. Again, after we receive your request, a team member will be in touch with you to discuss the particulars of your visit, including what telehealth platform we use, payment information, and other details, so you feel completely prepared for your online appointment.
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