COVID-19: How We’re Keeping Our Dermatology Patients Safe With Telemedicine and New Safety Protocols

How DermSurgery Associates is keeping patients safe with telemedicine appointments.

Keeping Texas residents safe and healthy has always been our greatest priority at DermSurgery Associates. In light of the COVID-19 virus, we’re taking extra measures to provide exceptional care while limiting your potential exposure. Now, you don’t have to leave your home to meet with a board-certified dermatologist in the Houston area. Telemedicine makes it possible for our professionals to virtually meet with patients while practicing social distancing.

We Are Reopening ALL Locations on Monday, May 11!

We are happy to announce that we are reopening for in-office dermatology appointments. Cosmetic appointments will resume on May 11. Contact us today to request your appointment.

We want to keep you, our patient, and our staff safe during these uncertain times.   Some guidelines when coming to see your doctor or PA:

  1.  Patients required to wear a face covering/mask before entering clinic and medical buildings.
  2. Only patients should come to appointment unless a minor child or elderly who needs assistance.
  3. If patients are sick, cough, fever, shortness of breath – kindly call and reschedule.
  4. We will be maintaining social distancing guidelines at all times.
  5. Our clinics and waiting rooms are disinfected on a regular basis.
  6. Masks need to be worn in all clinic rooms. Patients should not enter clinic without one and then, they need to keep it on unless doctor is looking at area covered by mask.
  7. Telemed appointments are offered by many of our providers.  If you need a refill or have a non-procedural issue, this is a great option for you this month!

See below for a full list of the precautions we will be taking to keep you all safe. 

Read on to learn more about how telemedicine keeps our dermatology patients safe and why a virtual visit may be the best way to experience your next appointment.

What Is Telemedicine?

Telemedicine is the use of electronic services to exchange medical information and improve your health while limiting your potential exposure to viruses. These appointments take place over video chat or through apps such as PocketEMA™ that allow you to connect with your dermatologist directly.

In response to COVID-19, Medicare temporarily expanded its telehealth services, and many of DermSurgery’s providers across Greater Houston are participating. Learn more in our previous blog post.

How Is Telemedicine Keeping Dermatology Patients Safe?

Telemed services allow you to keep in touch with dermatology professionals to address your skin concerns while also keeping you safe at home. This means you don’t have to wait until social distancing precautions are lifted to access the expertise of a board-certified dermatologist should you notice concerning dermatological issues.

Though we can’t perform procedures during telemed appointments, your dermatologist can perform spot checks, refill prescriptions, and examine medical dermatology concerns such as acne, rashes, eczema, and psoriasis.

How Do Telemed Dermatology Appointments Work?

You’ll start by calling any of our offices to schedule an appointment with a participating physician or PA. You’ll then download the PocketEMA app. (If your provider doesn’t use electronic medical records, you’ll use video chat software instead of the Pocket EMA app.) At your scheduled appointment time, you’ll connect virtually with your dermatologist, who may request photos to support your 2-way communication. He or she will then recommend a treatment plan and guide you in your next steps.

What If I Need an Urgent Procedure?

If you are concerned about a possible urgent issue, such as skin cancer, your DermSurgery provider will conduct a telemed appointment first to determine a diagnosis. Should you need a procedure imminently, he or she may recommend scheduling a condensed appointment, such as both a biopsy and removal (if necessary), on the same day to limit your number of visits to the office.

Who Can Use Telemedicine?

Anyone in the state of Texas can access DermSurgery’s telemedicine services. Patients who are at a high risk of COVID-19 complications may particularly benefit. However, all patients are encouraged to take advantage of telemed services to limit community spread of the coronavirus.

Are Telemed Appointments Covered by Insurance?

Many of our offices accept Medicare and some commercial insurances, as well as self-paying patients. We will collect copays and any other payments for your visits over the phone.

We hope these telemedicine options support you and reflect our long-standing commitment to keeping Texans healthy. To take full advantage of these services, please contact us online or call the office nearest you to schedule your first virtual appointment.

New Safety Protocols for All Patients and Staff:

We will provide the following in our waiting rooms:

  • Tissues
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Trash cans

Patients and staff are welcome to wash their hands with soap and water using the sinks in the restrooms and in the examination rooms.

Please limit the number of guests and visitors.

  • Please come unattended to your appointment. Exceptions will be made for minors and elderly patients requiring assistance.
  • Visitors and caregivers will have their temperature taken upon arrival.
  • All visitors and caregivers must arrive wearing a mask and keep it on for the duration of their visit to our office.

We will monitor all staff, patients and visitors for symptoms of COVID-19.

  • All staff who have symptoms of COVID-19 (e.g.,fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, muscle aches, tiredness) will be required to stay home and not come to work.
  • Please let us know in advance if you are experiencing a fever, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, tiredness, or muscle aches.
  • All patients will have their temperature taken upon arrival.
  • All patients should arrive wearing a mask and keep it on for the duration of their visit unless the doctor is examining an area covered by the mask.

Our staff will take the following additional precautions:

  •  Our staff will wear personal protective equipment (PPE). Our doctors and staff will wear disposable or washable gowns, face masks, gloves, protective eyewear, etc.
  • We will routinely clean and disinfect high touch surfaces in common areas and exam rooms between each patient.
  • We will continue to clean and disinfect all surfaces, equipment and supplies used in the exam rooms between each appointment.

Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns about these new safety protocols. Our priority is your safety. We will update our safety protocols as new guidelines are released by the CDC, the State of Texas and the City of Houston.

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