Walgreens Now Offering Virtual Dermatology Consultations

Image courtesy of Mike Mozart

If you’ve ever noticed a new mole, freckle, spot, or bump on your skin, but didn’t want to see a dermatologist, you’ve probably shown it to a friend who offered their non-expert advice. Maybe you’ve even posted a photo online asking people “What is this thing on my arm?” Now Walgreens is hoping you’ll be willing to let a dermatologist have a look, without having to drive to the doctor’s office.

Walgreens announced a new teledermatology platform that allows customers to get dermatologists’ opinions on their skin issues without leaving the home.

The service, which is supported by Iagnosis’ DermatologistOnCall, provides customers with an avenue to upload photos of their skin conditions, receive answers to medical questions, and get diagnoses, prescriptions, and other treatment plans through the Walgreens app or website.

The cost per consultation will be $59 and can take up to 24 hours to be completed.

A majority of the consultation will take place without patient-doctor interaction — meaning that users of the service won’t be discussing their conditions through video chat, but through written messages.

Still, Walgreens chief medical office, Harry Leider, tells the Chicago Tribune that if a patient’s case looks serious, a dermatologist could call them or recommend they visit a local doctor for a face-to-face visit. Additionally, DermatologistOnCall allows doctors to make follow-up questions and share a patient’s consultation summary with their primary care doctor.

Although the idea of meeting with a dermatologist over the web may seem convenient, some advocates have raised concerns over the effectiveness of teledermatology.

The Tribune reports that a recent study of 16 teledermatology companies found that major diagnoses were repeatedly missed, and prescribed treatments were sometimes at odds with typical doctor guidelines.

[via The Chicago Tribune]

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