Implications of COVID-19 on Noncutaneous Dermatology Practice: What Should Be Considered?

telehealth telederm doctor and patient tablet
Learning from medical vlog
A number of considerations are provided to guide dermatologists when treating patients during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The current pandemic caused by the coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) has affected  clinical care as a whole, particularly the care of patients with noncutaneous disorders. In a paper in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, UK researchers are calling for dermatologists to consider noncutaneous implications of COVID-19 on clinical dermatology and are asking dermatologists to implement strategies that ensure their patients are receiving care that supports social distancing requirements.

Expanding high-quality teledermatology solutions supported by practice guidelines, including phone and online video consultations, will be essential to ensuring continual care of dermatology patients, the authors believe. Video conferencing with colleagues may also be helpful for supporting social distancing efforts while facilitating professional collaboration and learning. These video conferences could include multidisciplinary meetings, teaching events, and medical conferences.

First and foremost, patient safety followed by informed consent of both physicians and patients are important factors to consider when addressing current issues in clinical care. In terms of dermatologic surgeries and operations, the authors recommend triaging patients who need urgent or time-critical procedures. All non-urgent procedures should be postponed. Personal protective equipment during these procedures is emphasized for the clinician during any urgent dermatologic surgery or operation.

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In addition, the authors of the paper suggest that dermatologists should carefully consider the effects of immunosuppressive and systemic medications on predisposing patients to COVID-19. A risk-benefit profile of these medications should be assessed for these patients.

In regard to the medication landscape overall, the authors suggest greater mitigation strategies are needed at this time for drug and equipment shortages, in addition to difficulties in procurement of much-needed therapies. Although no specific strategy was provided, the authors suggest that successful and unsuccessful practices should be shared with the medical community to facilitate improved procurement and distribution of medicines and equipment.

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Ali FR, Al-Niaimi F. Noncutaneous considerations of COVID-19 for dermatology practices [published online April 16, 2020]. J Cosmet Dermatol. doi: 10.1111/jocd.13444