Currently, millions of people around the world turn to dermatologist clinics to treat a variety of medical conditions and cosmetic concerns affecting their skin. Many of these patients may be seeking treatment for acne, an extremely common skin problem that can affect everyone from teenagers to the middle-aged and can typically be treated with a variety of acne treatment products and procedures.
Others, meanwhile, will seek care for conditions like skin cancer and psoriasis, which affect more than 9.5 million people in the United States. More people still will be interested in cosmetic procedures, such as hair loss treatments, a popular option for the more than 50% of men who will experience male pattern baldness by their 50th birthday. With the wide number of people who visit local dermatologists, it isn’t surprising that the industry is constantly improving and expanding, offering more opportunities to patients and doctors alike.
However, this raises questions about what shape dermatology will take in the future. Will we all work with online dermatologists and give ourselves at-home laser acne treatments? Or will the traditional structure continue?
The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) has some ideas. According to their magazine,Dermatology World, a number of changes are currently brewing in the industry that could mean serious changes for the future. Read on to learn how your trip to the dermatologist might differ in years to come.
While dermatology currently isn’t covered under reforms like the Affordable Care Act, the skin care epidemic and other factors have made dermatology a target for changes in the way we pay for healthcare. While practices presently use a “fee for service” model, the AAD reports that a number of insurance companies and clinics have started considering value-based payment models, accountable care, and more. While it’s impossible to guess which direction the industry will move in, a change in how you pay for your skin care is highly likely.
At least one app already offers online dermatologists for conditions like acne, but most of the industry is more likely to begin offering online scheduling tools, improved communication methods, and an increased focus on telemedicine, which offers new opportunities for payment, prescriptions and more. In a few years, a patient who might be experiencing an allergic reaction to their medication might be able to video-chat with their doctor, be prescribed a different medication, and schedule a follow-up appointment in person in a matter of minutes, simply by using their smartphone or computer.
One of the most exciting changes the dermatology industry is likely to see is the arrival of new tools, procedures, and treatment products. For example, photo recognition software might be used to better track patient progress and identify solutions to their skin problems. Additionally, research into the human genome and various skin conditions has the potential to create more targeted medications and better treatment regimens.
While it is impossible to predict the exact ways dermatology will change in coming years, there is no doubt that the industry will evolve and thrive to better meet the needs of patients. Whether that means switching to online dermatologists or simply improving payment methods, the potential benefits and opportunities are limitless. Are you ready for the skin care of the future?