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Singapore TeleDermatology: A Comprehensive Guide

September 13, 2021

Singapore teledermatology services have undergone a fundamental change in the past 18 months with the evolving COVID-19 pandemic. From hardly existing in the realm of telemedicine prior to the pandemic, Teledermatology consultations are now increasingly becoming the primary mode of care for dermatological conditions in Singapore. In this article, we discuss the suitability of common dermatological conditions with teledermatology and guide you through on what to expect from Singapore teledermatology services.

Let us first explain what is telemedicine. Telemedicine is a new technology that provides medical information, as well as healthcare support remotely. The World Health Organization defines it as the delivery of healthcare services ,where distance is a critical factor, by all healthcare professionals using information and communication technologies for the exchange of valid information for diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease and injuries, research and evaluation for the continuing education of health care providers, all in the interest of evolving the health of individuals and their communities.

Now, the above definition has taken on a new meaning. In a post COVID-19 world, distance is not the sole factor. There is also an increasing need to create access to healthcare in a way that does not expose the individual to airborne COVID-19 pathogen. In response to this, the Ministry of Health is advancing regulatory and licensing measures for telemedicine providers in Singapore, including Singapore teledermatology services. More information on regulatory matters as well as a list of telemedicine providers in Singapore can be found at the Listing of Direct Telemedicine Providers on the Ministry of Health website.

MoH Singapore Teledermatology Services

In terms of the application of telemedicine to dermatology, there are a few factors to be considered. Firstly, dermatology, as an individual specialty, is very well suited to be conducted via teledermatology. Telemedicine requires that the diagnosis is made visually, as well as with information of symptoms collected via the teleconsultation. Dermatological conditions are all diagnosed by visual inspection. History taking can be complex as there are several subcategories in the field of dermatology, covering diseases of the skin, hair and nails. As such, history taking is best done via a teleconsultation, because extended contact time increases the risk of airborne COVID-19 transmission.

Are you looking for Singapore teledermatology services?

If so, seeking an accredited dermatologist is important. You may find the list of accredited dermatologists in Singapore here at the Dermatological Society of Singapore’s Members list. The range of rashes, that affect the skin is well studied by dermatologists. This means that they are trained to identify the morphology, or the gross appearance of rashes, just by inspection alone. Teledermatology, with high resolution photos that can be taken with cell phone cameras, is easy and accurate.

Stock photo of rash patches manifesting on skin

The teledermatology service should be structured such that there is a thorough approach to history taking, as well as accurate photos to support the examination. In certain cases, which are considered more serious TeleDermatology can serve as the initial consultation method to minimise waiting time. This also helps facilitate arrangements for the most expedient access to medical care, with minimal exposure to airborne COVID-19.

Singapore teledermatology services is a growing specialty. TWL Specialist Skin & Laser Centre, headed by accredited dermatologist Dr Teo Wan Lin, was the first to offer teledermatology services in February 2020, and consistently offers that for its patients.

What conditions are suitable and not suitable for teledermatology?

Drug reactions, allergies which involve swelling of the eyes, the throat and difficulty breathing, as well as blistering diseases may not be suitable for TeleDermatology only. The approach to these conditions will be an initial teledermatology consult to determine actionable plan. This is followed by an in person, if necessary, photography and review session where blood pressure and temperature may be taken for further evaluation.

On the other hand, many conditions can be treated by teledermatology. At our Singapore dermatology practice, we currently treat the following conditions by teledermatology. It is very convenient for both the patient as well as safe in light of the COVID 19 pandemic in Singapore. Are you looking for a dermatologist in Singapore? Teledermatology is a right choice for you and your family for most dermatological conditions.

Acne Treatments via Teledermatology

Acne is a genetically influenced inflammatory condition affecting teenagers as well as adults. Treatment is usually a combination of oral medications such as oral antibiotics and topical creams. Severe cases may need oral isotretinoin. For our local teledermatology patients, who have acne, they are currently dispensed medications via our Singapore teledermatology services. The medications are delivered to them by courier. They can even get their medications for acne on the same day. This skincare pharmacy approach is a first of its kind in Singapore. The pharmacy itself is a partner to the teledermatology service. Custom compounded prescriptive creams are sent, together with your oral medications to aid in your recovery.

Acne Treatments Singapore Teledermatology
Stock photo of acne lesions appearing on facial skin

Eczema Treatment via Teledermatology

Eczema is another common condition that can be treated by teledermatology. In Singapore, many children and adults suffer from eczema. It is caused mainly by genetics that cause poor skin barrier function. As a result, the skin gets easily irritated, and develops infection and worsening symptoms. Teledermatology involves assessing the severity of the eczema condition, prescribing creams which are necessary to bring down inflammation. These creams cannot be accessed without a doctor’s prescription.

Singapore teledermatology services allows an accredited dermatologist to quickly and safely evaluate you, and get the medications delivered to you to your doorstep for treatment. Treatment of eczema early is important and can certainly be controlled with proper prompt intervention. Do check the status of your dermatologist, as not all supposed skincare doctors are actually accredited dermatologist recognised by the Ministry of Health.

Perioral Dermatitis Treatment via Teldermatology

Perioral dermatitis is a common mimic of hormonal acne that can also be treated by teledermatology. Singapore teledermatology services are increasing in demand because of the increased work from home situation, as well as the constantly changing COVID-19 pandemic. It is important to bear in mind that where it is possible, we should do our part to stay home and to reduce community transmission rates. Teledermatology, as a branch of telemedicine, is an important way for you to minimise exposure for yourself as well as for your loved ones, while getting the medical care that you need.

Perioral dermatitis looks a lot like hormonal acne. However, it is different in the sense that it is not just acne, but also a form of eczema. You may have acne-like pimples as well as pustules. The key here is the skin barrier is weakened, leading to a change in the skin surface bacteria. This condition is also very sensitive to triggers such as mint toothpaste or cosmetics, and even sunscreen. If you are worried that you have perioral dermatitis, book an appointment for Singapore teledermatology services today and have your condition treated.

Rosacea Treatment via Teledermatology

Rosacea is a condition where the skin’s blood vessels are hyperactive and the skin remains consistently red and inflamed. This is a problem because it can cause skin thickening as well as embarrassment for the patient. Rosacea must be treated with oral antibiotics. Severe cases respond to a course of oral isotretinoin. Consultation by teledermatology is appropriate for rosacea, because it is a visually diagnosed condition. The dermatologist will decide if you have a subtype of rosacea that needs more aggressive treatment. For example, papulopustular rosacea, or other types of rosacea.

If you suspect that you have rosacea and live in Singapore, do consider dermatologists via Singapore teledermatology services. Our centre prioritises teledermatology services with our dermatologist, and full nursing support is also administered via telemedicine. Our pharmacy supports same day delivery of medications to treat your condition in the most expedient manner, without you having leave the comfort and safety of your home.