The General Appearance Photo

Guy in red shirt taking photo of himself.
Make sure the photo you supply is clearly focused and recently taken. A “selfie” works best.

Many times patients are curious as to why they have to supply a general appearance photo along with their condition photos when submitting a virtual visit on HealthLens. A general appearance photo is essentially a “selfie” and it serves a couple of important functions during the online evaluation.

Foremost, the general appearance gives the doctor an up-to-date look at the patient’s overall health. If the doctor has never seen the patient before in their practice, this picture provides them with a foundation to compare the patient’s overall skin quality to the skin quality in their condition photos. It is a simple way to gauge how much sun damage the person may have. If it is an existing patient but the doctor has not seen him or her in their practice for a substantial period of time, the general appearance photo allows the doctor see if there have been any dramatic changes to the person’s health or skin quality besides normal aging.

A secondary purpose is that the general appearance photo helps the doctor instantly identify which patient they are evaluating. At a busy practice, there are usually a few patients who share the same name. Likewise, many doctors see multiple siblings from the same family in their practices. This photo eliminates the chance of the doctor getting two patients with the same name mixed up.

The general appearance photo is a vital aspect of your virtual visit on HealthLens. The best way to provide your doctor with a quick snapshot of your overall health is to provide the most recent photo possible. A “selfie” taken while completing the visit works great! So the next time you are submitting a virtual visit on HealthLens to your doctor, keep in mind the comically catchy lyrics of The Chainsmokers’s EDM hit song, “#SELFIE,” which go “But first, let me take a selfie.”

Urgency vs. Continuity of Care

Pills and thermometer on black surface
Some telemedicine visits can lead to unnecessary prescriptions. Find out how HealthLens MDs are reducing over-prescribing.

In an age where almost all consumer goods and services can be hailed instantly from the customer’s phone, prompt access to a medical doctor through a smartphone seems to be an appropriate fit for today’s “Uber Economy.” It’s one of the most touted benefits of telemedicine. Patients can connect with a doctor quickly and more conveniently than a traditional office appointment. But like with all new technology, there is a trade-off. In exchange for urgent medical advice, patients are connected with healthcare providers who they have never seen before, and will most likely never see again after the telemedicine visit.

This puts the providers in a tough situation as they feel compelled to take a “worst case scenario” approach to their diagnoses and treatment recommendations. The fear of underdiagnosing a patient outweighs the consequences of prescribing medications that the patient might not need. The most common example of this is the unfettered prescribing of antibiotics by telemedicine doctors. Instead of waiting for confirmation that the patient is not reacting to a virus, these doctors will usually prescribe antibiotics just in case it turns out to be a bacterial infection.

So how can telemedicine companies combat the overprescribing of antibiotics and other prescriptions? The solution is quite simple. Connect patients with doctors who can monitor the patient’s progress over time. At HealthLens, only doctors who are active members of a practice can join. This allows the patients to select a doctor in their area so they can visit their office for additional tests and procedures if necessary. HealthLens also allows the patients to ask the doctor questions after the diagnosis has been made, which improves adherence to treatment plans and, consequently, patient outcomes.

By lengthening the care window from 10 minutes to however long it takes for the patient’s outcome to improve, HealthLens’ telemedicine platform helps doctors make more accurate assessments and recommend more appropriate treatment options.

To find a doctor in your area who uses HealthLens to evaluate their patients online, visit HealthLens.com.