The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health statistics indicate that one out of every three Americans experiences skin disease at any given time. As the biggest organ in the body, your skin is exposed to environmental conditions and reflects the state of your internal health. Your skin needs proper attention through self-care and visits to the dermatologist for routine skin checks to assess any developing skin condition. People think about getting a routine annual physical exam but too often wait for skin disease or concern to develop before seeing a dermatologist. Prevention has been and always is the best medicine.
Importance of Finding an Experienced Dermatologist
Skin, hair, and nail conditions develop for many reasons, including genetics, inflammation, a routine diet lacking in critical nutrients, exposure to ultraviolet radiation, stress, and occupational hazards, to name just a few. Annual visits to a dermatologist play a vital role in the early detection and treatment of skin cancer and other skin diseases. The National Cancer Institute says skin cancer is the most common cancer type. The most lethal form of skin cancer, Melanoma, has been rising an average of 1.4 percent annually. The NCI also says the number of non-melanoma and melanoma skin cancer is increasing each year. The importance of catching this type of cancer early cannot be overstated enough.
One of the issues in skincare is that people do not recognize a skin abnormality, so they do not see a dermatologist. A study published in the Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venerology made this clear. The study estimated the prevalence of skin diseases in people who have not seen a dermatologist. Screening examinations were performed at a festival, and among the 2,701 people screened, 1,662 or 64.5 percent had skin conditions like actinic keratosis, eczema, and rosacea.
Choosing the Right Dermatologist in Connecticut
The right dermatologist has knowledge and expertise in a broad range of skin condition assessment and treatments. However, finding the right dermatologist can be challenging because dermatology appointment availability often cannot meet patient demand. Data indicates that 20,000 dermatologists are needed to meet the demand, which is double the number of board-certified dermatologists available.
Here are six helpful tips for choosing the right dermatologist.
- Select a Board-Certified Dermatologist
You can begin a search for a dermatologist by considering the training and certification of the dermatologist. A board-certified dermatologist has a minimum of eight years of training.
Several organizations act as certifying agencies for dermatologists:
- American Academy of Dermatology
- American Board of Dermatology
- American Osteopathic Board of Dermatology
- Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada
Some dermatologists have multiple credentials and are double board-certified in fields like dermatology and dermatopathology. The largest certified group is FAAD which is the acronym for a “Fellow of the American Board of Dermatology.” The FAAD acronym will appear after the dermatologist’s name. If FAAD does not appear, look for board certification from one of the other certifying agencies.
- Determine the Dermatologists’ Special Clinical Interests
Like all physicians, dermatologists have clinical interests. All board-certified dermatologists are fully trained, but you may want to choose among the dermatologists based on their medical interests. For example, the dermatologist may be interested in and has maintained state-of-the-art expertise in, disease presentations in ethnic skin or treatment of skin conditions like psoriasis or acne or skin cancer prevention and screening.
- Consider Appointment Options Like Telehealth
Telehealth, or virtual health care appointments, holds great promise for making it easier to access a dermatologist. A recent survey of dermatology patients conducted at The George Washington School of Medicine found that telehealth appointments delivered quality care along with convenience. Not all cases are appropriate for telehealth, but a wide range of skin conditions are eligible. In this survey, telehealth appointments were made for assessing a new rash, eczema, or psoriasis. Around 90 percent of respondents said they would utilize telehealth again. As this is an emerging technology and not always an insurance-covered option, make sure to confirm that this is a covered service through your health insurance carrier.
- Ask Your Network for Suggestions
Everyone has a network of connections that includes a primary care physician, family members, coworkers, etc. Many people begin searching for a dermatologist by asking people in their circle of connections or online followers for recommendations.
With a dermatologist’s recommendation, you can vet the provider and the clinic or office to ensure your needs can be met. Some people ask for a consultation with the dermatologist to ensure the doctor has their preferred personality and care style.
- Check the Reputation of the Dermatology Practice
Today, most people will conduct an online search of the dermatology office or clinic and the dermatologist. You are likely to find patient reviews. The State of Connecticut Department of Health also offers the ability to look up physicians and nurses and check the status of their credentials, such as Health Grades.
- Verify Insurance Coverage
In most cases, health insurance will pay for all or some percentage of the dermatologist’s services. It is good to check with office staff to ask if they accept your health insurance and make sure you understand your co-pays and deductibles.
Gain All the Benefits of PACT
The Physician’s Alliance of Connecticut offers the ideal path to finding top-quality, efficient dermatological care. Dermatologists who belong to this multi-specialty group are dedicated to delivering quality dermatologic care. Contact PACT Dermatology for a streamlined search of credentialed and experienced dermatologists.