And the COVID-19 pandemic has made in-person healthcare risky for anything but the most urgent medical needs. This is especially true if you’re older or have a condition that compromises your immune system.
Telemedicine makes it much easier for you to reach out and get care for a skin condition or symptom without leaving your home.
It also gives you the opportunity to visit the dermatologist quickly and for a relatively low cost as your dermatologist reviews your skin condition without ever requiring you to leave your home.
All you have to do in most cases is submit a list of your symptoms and photos of the affected area using a desktop or mobile device.
You’ll usually hear back with a treatment plan within a few days or less.
Some telemedicine websites may also let you chat with a dermatologist immediately so that you can get quick service and a quick turnaround on treatment services or medications.
Here are 10 websites that provide professional consultations from board certified dermatologists anywhere at any time.
And here’s the criteria we used to rate each service:
- ease of use
- quality of service
- variety of services
- availability on multiple platforms (computer, phone, tablet, etc.)
- safety and privacy of medical data
- ability to use information for other medical needs
- ability to get prescriptions, referrals, and other services
Consider DermatologistOnCall if you have a skin condition that needs medical attention.
This service is a 24/7 telemedicine website that provides professional consultations with board certified dermatologists. You can access the service with a:
- desktop computer
Dermatologists through this service have the capability to diagnose more than 3,000 skin conditions, including:
All you need to do is create an account and upload a photo of your skin condition. You will then receive a personalized treatment plan within 24 hours. If you need a prescription, it can be called in to your pharmacy.
Online visits cost $59. The company’s website says services are available in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, but it’s probably a good idea to verify service availability based on your location.
You can also use Highmark Commercial Insurance or see if your health insurance plan is accepted.
DermatologistOnCall is not for emergency medical needs.
Direct Dermatology (or DirectDerm) is available to residents of:
- New Mexico
This service can be used to schedule a visit to the dermatologist without needing to go through a primary care provider (PCP).
You can also avoid long wait times associated with scheduling an appointment or receiving results from your consultation.
Direct Dermatology diagnoses non-emergency skin conditions within 2 days for a $95 fee. Your fee may vary based on your insurance coverage.
All you have to do is:
- Create an account.
- Log in to the Direct Dermatology site.
- Complete a medical history.
- Upload photos of your skin condition.
You’ll receive a report from a board certified dermatologist.
Dermatologists on Direct Dermatology can also provide prescriptions if needed. Direct Dermatology accepts some insurance carriers. A health savings account (HSA) may also cover your costs.
FirstDerm can give you a quick and anonymous review of your skin condition.
Board certified dermatologists can provide you with a professional consultation within 24 hours of your submission via your computer or smartphone.
To use the service, simply:
- Take a photo of your skin condition.
- Upload it through the site or the Apple or Android app.
- Answer a few personal questions.
- Pay a $40 fee.
A dermatologist will provide you with an evaluation within a day.
FirstDerm reports that 70 percent of cases seen through their service are treatable with over-the-counter medications. For more serious issues, the dermatologist will recommend that you visit a doctor’s office.
You don’t need to identify yourself or supply personal information, like your name, when submitting your photos.
Online Skin Specialist is a United Kingdom-based telemedicine service for dermatology needs around the world.
All you have to do is:
- Ask a question about your skin condition.
- Pay with your debit or credit card.
- Upload a photo.
Either Dr. Sasi Attili and Dr. Venkat Ratnam will follow up with a phone conversation or Skype video chat. You can also opt to receive a report to share with your doctor.
You can receive a prescription associated with your skin condition if you’re based in the United Kingdom. Fees will vary based on your location and the type of services you need.
Apostrophe is a good option if you have conditions that may affect both your skin and hair.
This telemedicine service offers consultations from board certified dermatologists regarding:
You may be able to receive a treatment plan from a dermatologist as well as prescriptions to help your acne within 24 hours.
The service does not accept insurance, but you may be able to use your HSA to pay the $59 fee. Your insurance may cover medications that the service prescribes.
Services are available in many states, but not all services are approved in all of these states. Go to the Apostrophe website and use their chat feature to type in the question “What states?” to see a comprehensive list.
DermUtopia is another option for residents of:
For a $69 fee, you’ll be able to:
- Describe your skin issue.
- Upload a photo.
- Receive a consultation from a board-certified dermatologist within three days.
DermUtopia does not accept insurance. However, you may be able to use your HSA or flexible spending account (FSA) to cover your costs.
Teladoc is an online telemedicine platform that offers a wide range of providers and services, which makes it easy to find and receive almost any kind of medical care from the comfort of your home.
Teladoc’s dermatology services only require that you:
- Upload images of your skin condition or issue.
- Speak with a dermatologist.
- Work with your dermatologist for any follow-up treatment or prescriptions.
You’ll need to create an account before you request any services. You can also call 1-800-Teladoc and follow up about treatment or prescriptions through text messages or video chats.
Teladoc is known for its secure encryption and privacy protections for communications between doctors and people using its service.
Most dermatology consultations cost around $75 or less. Your results can also be shared with your PCP to make sure you don’t have any gaps in your care.
Doxy.me is an online telemedicine platform that’s designed to make virtual care easy for both the doctor and those seeking care.
If doctors don’t have their own telemedicine setup, they can use the platform as a tool to reach patients virtually.
Many physicians and specialists use the platform to:
- give prescriptions
- suggest follow-up care
Doxy.me is also intended to be simple to use for anyone with a computer. You don’t need an account.
You’re simply given a “chat room” link to go “check in,” which includes providing your medical history and other basic information.
Doxy.me also observes many different privacy protections, including the standard HIPAA and European GDPR regulations, so that your medical data is secure no matter where you use the service.
Your provider determines your costs depending on the care you need and the follow-up treatment or medications that they recommend.
Medici is a telemedicine website and app for Apple and Android phones intended to let you talk with a physician any time of day via:
Dermatologists can use Medici to write prescriptions that are directly delivered to your local pharmacy, allowing you pick up your medications there.
If you’re set up for home delivery with your pharmacy, you can have your medications delivered to you.
Medici also provides electronic referral forms to other specialists as well as electronic lab test orders and results. Medici’s goal is to enable you to go through the entire care process with as little travel as possible.
In addition, the platform offers translations in 25 different languages.
You’ll need to create an account on the site, which you can use to access both website and app services.
Medici’s fees are determined after you receive care from a dermatologist. The company also partners with many employers to sponsor your care or to enable you to use insurance or health accounts to cover your fees.
Mandel is a telemedicine website focused specifically on dermatology. It provides a variety of virtual care options depending on your needs.
Mandel has two main options for dermatology care:
- Scheduling initial consultations and evaluations
- Receiving prescriptions and follow-up care
You can book a live video chat appointment with a dermatology provider.
Costs vary and can range from free, if your insurance covers the appointment, or up to $75 for a complete consultation.
Mandel strives to provide a virtual medical appointment similar to an in-person one.
Your dermatologist can also provide prescriptions and follow-up care. The website provides your provider’s phone or email to help make sure your care is consistent and uninterrupted.
Mandel has two facilities that are located in New York City and Long Island. Hours vary by day, and they’re not typically available on weekends. Visit their website for more information on available appointments.
Telemedicine is quick and convenient. It’s especially important as virtual communication becomes faster and easier to use.
But it’s also critical when you need care and need to avoid unnecessary exposure to the new coronavirus and COVID-19.
Use telemedicine to help limit the number of times you need to go to a doctor’s office for an in-person visit.
In addition to the platforms listed above, many practices are now offering telemedicine services as a result of the pandemic. These services are likely to be covered by insurance.
If you already have a dermatologist you like, reach out to their office and ask about telemedicine options.