General questions

What is online dermatology?

Online dermatology, also known as ‘teledermatology’ is a type of care that harnesses modern technology to deliver expert skincare remotely. Teledermatology has been around for decades but recently has seen a huge increase in usage across the World. Since dermatology is primarily based upon what you can see, it is perfectly suited to this with very little difference seen compared to care delivered in a physical face-to-face clinic.

 

Does online dermatology work and is it safe?

Online dermatology has been shown to be as effective as in-person dermatology in over 90% of cases. Skindoc has worked very hard to make sure that its services give you plenty of opportunities to tell us how you need our help, whether it be by using questionnaires, photographs or live video consultations. As a result, skindoc can safely address the vast majority of dermatological issues. It is however not a replacement for in-person dermatology, more a highly convenient and much more accessible service that removes the need to travel or even leave your own home.

There are still some things that normally need to be seen by a dermatologist in person. This includes, but is not limited to concerning moles, life-threatening skin rashes, treatment-resistant skin complaints that require immunosuppression etc.

 

What types of things do you treat?

Dermatologists are specialists that are trained in treating disease of the skin, hair, nails and mouth. There are around 2000 different conditions known and we can address nearly all of them. Because dermatology can be very confusing, skindoc have divided the whole specialty into nine separate categories for you to choose from. Please see the ‘What we treat’ section for further information.

 

Will I be seen by a qualified dermatologist?

Yes. 100% of our services are delivered by UK-trained dermatology Consultants. Whichever service you chose, rest assured your concerns will be addressed by highly qualified skin specialists that fully understands the UK health system.

 

Will my doctor by in the UK?

Yes. Our services are delivered by UK-based dermatology Consultants only.

 

What are your operating hours?

You can submit photo upload cases and book an online consultation 24/7.

The availability of our doctors will be determined by each individual doctors booking calendar but availability is typically between 8am - 8pm every day of the week.

Our clinical support team are available between the hours of 8am - 8pm every day of the week.

 

Can I use the service abroad?

Even though skindoc is a UK-based service, you can book appointments and submit cases from anywhere in the World. Since you will be reviewed by a UK-based doctor, our services follow UK laws and regulations and as such there are some countries you cannot use our service from because of varying rules and regulations. You will not be able to use our services from the following countries: USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Germany & China. Before booking, please check for any local restrictions on consulting with a clinician outside of the country you are situated in.

When it comes to prescriptions, there are some European countries where you might be able to submit a private prescription. Please let your doctor know during your appointment if you are outside of the UK so they can best advise you.

 

Do I have to pay?

If you are a self-funded and self-referred individual, then yes and the prices are available under ‘Pricing’. If you have private medical insurance, please check with your insurer that they will fund your consultation before booking. Skindoc and the doctors who work here are recognised by several healthcare insurance providers so when you contact them, please ensure that they provide us with your Insurance Membership Policy number and Authorisation Code prior to booking an appointment.

If you have been referred by your NHS GP, then an account will be created for you and payment will not be required.

 

I am not happy with the service; how do I complain?

We will do everything we can to rectify an issues you may have experienced however if you would like to make a formal complaint, please contact us directly at [email protected]. Additionally, there is a downloadable leaflet in the Resources section of your patient portal which outlines the process and your options.

 

Security

What happens to my photos when I submit them?

Your photographs are uploaded to an ultra-secure cloud server situated right here in the UK. An encrypted link is established between this server and skindoc allowing for only you and our clinical team to view them. Your photographs will not be shared with other teams, not even your GP.

 

Do you share my information?

Your information can only be shared with your GP with your consent. You can add or update your GP details in the ‘Profile’ section after you login. If no details are provided, we may reach out and ask you what you would like us to do.

If you are claiming through your medical insurance provider then you will need to liaise with them.

We will never share your medical information with your employer and any third-party company.

 

Can I delete my account?

You can delete your account via the patient portal profile section after you log in.

Please note, skindoc will erase your account in accordance with GDPR and the Data Protection Act (2018), as well as guidance provided by the Information Commission Officer (ico). We  will keep your medical records in accordance with our Privacy Policy, which follows guidance from the Department of Health and ico.

Any data held will not be passed to any other third-party organisation and will be stored securely, with strict confidentiality and data security provisions applicable at all times.

We will erase any data that is not necessary for the retention of your medical record. For further information, please review our Privacy Policy.

 

Photo Upload Service

How does the photo upload service work?

You will be presented with nine different options relating to differing dermatological issues. You should choose the category that most represents your dermatological issue, even if you have more than one. Each category has a unique and comprehensive questionnaire that has been specifically designed to obtain the same information that a dermatologist would typically ask you in a clinic. Afterward, you will be provided a space to upload photographs of your complaint. There are guides available via the ‘Resources’ section in the patient portal on how to make sure your photos are of good quality.

With your questionnaire answers and photographs, a Consultant dermatologist should be able to address your case, create a clinical letter and arrange a prescription if needed. They can also provide you with additional education material.

Occasionally more information is required, and your doctor will reach out to you. Don’t worry, this does not cost extra.

 

I do not have a camera; can I still use the service?

Unfortunately, skindoc is founded on the notion that most people have access to the internet and a camera, whether it be a digital camera or smartphone. Since our doctors need to see what your dermatological complaint looks like, skindoc may not be the best service for you. We would therefore suggest seeking a dermatologist in physical clinic.

 

My photos were rejected, what do I do?

The main reason this occurs is because the photos submitted were not of a high enough quality for the doctor to be able to use. Other reasons include blurred photos or issues with photos being too light or too dark. If this is the case, your doctor will reach out to you and request additional photographs. Don’t worry, this does not cost extra. There are also guides available via the ‘Resources’ section in the patient portal on how to make sure your photos are of good quality.

 

What is the difference between the photo upload service and a live consultation?

The photo upload service costs less than the live consultation and is best suited for minor skin ailments that need a quick answer. It remains a safe and reliable option, it is just not as comprehensive as live consultations and may provide you with slightly less information. The live consultations allow you to speak to an expert directly, ask questions and establish a dialogue. Live consultations also permit greater access going forward, especially if further investigations are required.

 

Live Consultations

How does the online video consultation work?

Your video consultation will be held online via a video conferencing platform just like Zoom or MS Teams, except you do not need to register or create an account. You will be sent a link to it and will be able to access it on your personal computer (PC), laptop, tablet, or smartphone. Its super easy.

You can click the link anytime, but we would advise doing so a few minutes before your appointment is due to check everything is working for you and to get comfortable.

When you click the link, you enter a virtual ‘waiting room’ where you will be held until the doctor is ready to see you. Don’t worry, you may feel like you are all alone, but your doctor will know that you are waiting.

When your doctor begins the video call, expect them to check your ID so please have it ready. All you need to do is hold it up to the camera and the doctor will check it against our records.

Assuming all is well, you and your doctor can start addressing your skin concerns. You have a generous 30 minutes so take your time explaining what has been happening.

At the end of your consultation, your doctor will guide you through the next steps.

 

How soon can I book an appointment?

Depending on the time of day that you book, you can usually get an appointment on the same day, if not the next. Very rarely will there be no availability past 48 hours.

Some skindoc doctors are available in the evening, at weekends and even bank holidays.

 

I would like my friend/family member/carer to join me, is that possible?

Yes. If you would another person to join you, please contact us with their name and email address and our administrative team will arrange a link to be sent to them. It is worth noting, that anybody can join, no matter where they are in the World.

 

What is the length of my appointment?

Your appointment is 30 minutes long. If you feel your appointment will take longer than 30 minutes, we would advise booking an extra slot. This can be done via your skindoc patient portal or by contacting us.

 

Is my video consultation private?

Yes. Your video consultation will be completely confidential and will not be recorded by either the doctor, the skindoc team or by the video conferencing platform. No personal details will be stored on the platform either.

The video link we send you is encrypted so the only people who can see you will be the doctor and any family or carers you have asked to attend.

Your doctor will be in a private room but please ensure that you have a suitable place to join your appointment where you can talk freely and uninterrupted.

 

Do I need a special log in or password to access the video call?

No. The link we send you is specific to you and does not require any additional sign up or password. The link is all you need, and we will send it to your registered email address with the option to add a reminder (with the link attached) to you email or smartphone calendar.

 

What software will I need before attending my video consultation?

You will not need to download any additional software or register with a video account to use our service; this is includes not needing to download any new apps.

All you need is an internet connection and a smartphone, tablet, laptop or PC with an internet browser like Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge or Apple iOS Safari.

 

I have a disability; can you accommodate me?

Yes. Please see our Accessibility page, available here. If you need further information, please contact us.

 

How can I prepare for my video consultation?

When you sign up, there is a section in your personal profile section called ‘Resources’. This contains all you need to prepare yourself, including a dedicated guide titled: ‘How to prepare for a Live Video Consultation’. This section has several other useful documents that you may find useful.

 

Can I send photos too?

When you sign up and book an appointment you will be prompted to upload some photographs of your dermatology complaint. Your doctor will receive these photos as well as any other written information you choose to share with us.

There is a section in your personal profile section called ‘Resources’. This contains several useful documents including two on how to take good photographs. After all, the better the photographs, the easier it is for the doctor to help you.

 

What do I do if I am running late for my appointment?

If you are running late, please contact us as soon as you can via the phone number provided in the ‘Contact us’ section. We will speak to the doctor and see what can be done. Occasionally, the doctor will have availability later and we may need to re-arrange the time.

 

What do I do if the doctor is late to start the appointment?

Occasionally, the appointment before yours may run over time but it is rarely more than a few minutes so simply stay online in the virtual ‘waiting room’ until you are seen.

If the doctor is running more than 5-10 minutes late then please do contact us via the phone number provided in the ‘Contact us’ section. We will check on the status of the doctor and let you know.

If your appointment starts late, you will still receive the full-time allowance for your appointment.

 

My internet is having connection problems, what do I do?

If you are experiencing connection issues with your WiFi including video lagging, freezing screen, poor quality sound, or video disconnections, try moving your device closer to the WiFi router.

If it’s the mobile data that is the issue, try moving to a better area of reception e.g. near a window or go to the top floor of your property.

 

I would like a chaperone, can I have one?

At present, we are unable to provide a chaperone on the video call however the doctor will be happy for you to bring a family member, friend, or carer in on the call if that would make your experience more comfortable.

You will also have the ability to turn off your camera if you need to expose a body site temporarily and need time to prepare.

 

How do I cancel or re-schedule an appointment?

If you need to cancel or re-schedule your appointment, we will require a minimum of 24 hours’ notice. If you are unable to make contact, please leave a message on our answer phone, stating your name, as well as date and time of the booked appointment. Any appointments, which are not attended, or are cancelled/re-scheduled with less than 24 hours’ notice, will incur a full charge as the doctor will have already been booked and their time allocated to you.

 

I missed my appointment, what happens?

If you miss your appointment, please contact us to rearrange a more convenient time for your appointment, however, please be aware that unattended appointments will incur a full charge.

If you are an NHS patient, your GP will be informed, and they will need to make another referral for you if you still require one.

 

I have been told I need a face-to-face appointment; what do I do?

A doctor will normally suggest a face-to-face appointment prior to accepting your case for review. If not, this may become apparent after more information has been divulged during a consultation. In both cases your doctor should provide guidance on where, why and how urgently you need to be seen.

 

I am under 16 and I will be attending my appointment alone.

Unfortunately, it is our policy that all under 16-year-olds must attend with their parent or legal guardian/carer. If you attend alone or with another person not legally responsible for your wellbeing, the consultation will not go ahead.

 

ID/Identity

Do I need to verify my identity?

If you are a self-referrer then yes, we need you to verify your identity before you can book an appointment.

If you have been referred into our service via your GP, then you will not need to verify your ID as it would have already been checked by them when you joined the practice.

We work closely with the Care Quality Commission, who independently regulate all healthcare providers in the UK. Our identity verification process reflects their recommendations and help us ensure that our service is safe, secure, and effective.

 

How does the identity verification process work?

To verify your identity, or the identity of a family member, we ask you to submit relevant identity documentation (ID). We accept valid passports, driving licenses and national identity cards for adults. We will also ask you to confirm parental responsibility for any children under the age of 18. You can do this by uploading a copy of a valid birth certificate or order of guardianship on the child’s behalf.

Alongside the ID we will also require a selfie to compare and check the two matches. Once submitted, you are free to use the skindoc platform and we will aim to verify your ID within 24 hours.

You can view your verification status from the ‘Profile’ section.

 

Can I use a scanned document, or does it need to be a photograph?

For safety reasons we can’t accept electronically scanned documents. This is because scans can be tampered with and it's very difficult to recognise forgeries. Instead, please take a photograph of the original ID, making sure you capture the whole document in a crisp, clear image with no cropping.

 

When should I upload my identity documents?

You can verify your identity at any stage, but we strongly encourage you to do it as soon as you register. We will not be able to undertake any clinical work for you until your ID has been checked and verified.

 

What will you do with my ID documents after I submit them?

Our team will check your documents when you have submitted them. As long as there are no issues, they will verify your account. You can check your status in the ‘Profile’ section of your account.

Please note, we do not permanently store your ID documents anywhere on our system. Once verification is complete, they will be irreversible erased.

 

Do I need to provide proof of identity for a child or minor?

Yes, you will need to provide proof of guardianship for any patient under the age of 18. We can accept the following documentation as proof of guardianship:

  • Birth Certificate
  • Letter of Guardianship
  • Copy of your child's passport

How long will it take to verify my documents?

We aim to complete the verification process within 24 hours. We recommend that you upload the documents as soon as possible to avoid any delays.

 

What happens if I do not verify my identity?

Unfortunately, we will not be able to undertake any clinical work for you until your ID has been checked and verified. As such, we will not be able to assist with you.

 

Prescriptions

Can I get a prescription?

Yes. All services provided by skindoc allow for a prescription to be generated. We have partnered up with the online pharmacist Phlo who can arrange delivery of you medicines within hours if you live in London or the following day for anywhere else in the UK.

You are under no obligation to use Phlo as your pharmacist and so if you would prefer not to, you can simply provide a copy of your prescription to your GP along with your clinical letter and request they prescribe it for you. Please note, that there are several medicines that GPs are not authorised to prescribe e.g. Isotretinoin. Furthemore, most UK pharmacists do not accept digital prescriptions yet and so online pharmacists tend to be easier.

It is important to be aware that our doctors will not prescribe controlled drugs and some high-risk medicines. We may refuse to prescribe to you have any safety or legal concerns.

Please note that the service prices quoted by skindoc do not include cost of prescription nor the delivery charge.

 

Do you offer a repeat prescription service?

In order to obtain a repeat supply of medicines a consultation must be booked, this includes for urgent prescriptions.

 

How long will I have to wait for my prescription?

This depends on where you choose to obtain your medicines from. If you use our partner pharmacy Phlo they can arrange delivery of you medicines within hours if you live in London or the following day for anywhere else in the UK. Read more here: https://wearephlo.com/

All other methods will likely entail a delay, especially if the medication is uncommonly used or high-risk.

 

Does my prescription expire?

Your prescription will expire 28 days after you receive your documents. If you have not collected your prescription within this time, you will be required to book another consultation to have your medication re-prescribed again.

 

How do I know if my prescription has reached the pharmacy?

Phlo will contact you directly to organise payment and delivery. If you chose not to use Phlo, then you would need to contact your chosen pharmacy directly.

 

The pharmacy has not received my prescription

If it has been longer than a day since you received your documents following you using the photo upload service or over an hour since your online consultation, contact either us or Phlo directly.

You will also need to ensure your address and contact number are correct in your patient profile. Simply login to skindoc to check.

 

Onward referrals and medical tests

Can I be referred for further investigations?

Yes. It is fairly common for patients to require some tests e.g. blood test, swabs, biopsies etc. If this is the case the letter your doctor writes for you will contain the necessary information and where to seek attention from.

If you decide to go privately, the private healthcare provider you choose will send you the results of your exam or test.

If you decide to seek investigations via your GP, you will need to ask them for a copy of the results and send them to us when available.

 

I have had my tests done. What do I do with the results?

Part of the service we provide includes interpretation and advice on results of investigations that we suggested. Any investigations that relate to your case can be forwarded to us and uploaded to your file. As long as your case is still relatively fresh, we will ask your doctor to relay further advice. Simply email us at [email protected] with your name, date of birth and case ID number (available on your clinic letter and/or prescription) and attach copies of the investigations you had performed.

 

Can I be referred to another team e.g. for surgery?

If you require an onward referral your doctor will generate a letter for you. You can use the letter to organise your next appointment. In the private sector, this is relatively straightforward but if you ask your GP to refer you into the NHS you may experience some resistance not to mention long waiting times.

If you have private health insurance, speak to your insurer before you book your next appointment. You will need to check if the referral is covered under your policy with them.

 

Can you provide me with a sick note?

Unfortunately not. You can self-certify for seven days, after that you will need to discuss this with your GP.

 

What happens next?

The doctor says the diagnosis is unclear or not possible, now what?

Just like in traditional dermatology clinics, a diagnosis may not always be possible at the first appointment or photo upload submission. The doctor may suggest that further investigations are required, many of which can occur via your GP e.g. blood tests, skin swabs and urine analysis. Occasionally, specialist tests are required e.g. a skin biopsy. Your doctor will inform you of what tests may be needed and it would be your decision if you want to obtain them privately or via the NHS.

 

Will my GP know the details of my consultation?

When registering with skindoc you will be given the opportunity to enter your GPs details. If you do provide them our administrative team will assume that you are happy for us to share correspondence with your GP. If however you would prefer us not share specific information then please contact us in advance of your submission or booking.