By: Renata Block, MMS, PA-C
As a practicing dermatology physician assistant for almost 20 years, I have had the luxury of experiencing many products and learning what works well and what I can do without. But, in the end, we all want to make patient care a daily success, so finding the proper tools for yourself is essential. Based on my experience, below are my top 5 favorite, indispensable dermatologic devices.
The origins of dermoscopy started in the mid-17th century, and in the early 1970s, dermoscopy was utilized for early melanoma detection.1 The term “dermoscopy” was introduced in the 1990s when newer and user-friendly hand-held devices appeared. Training with an older generation of dermatologists who did not use the technology, I discovered this must-have gem on my own and never looked back. It is the perfect tool to examine the skin, hair, and nails, and give more confidence in my diagnosis and treatment plans. Patients also think it is “pretty cool,” and I think it is a great conversation starter. I even share my discoveries with them and have them look in the window.
2. Neo Elite by Aerolase®
This laser is impressive, versatile, and essential for any practice looking for a laser that can safely treat many conditions on all skin tones. It is excellent for treating acne, rosacea, psoriasis, onychomycosis, telangiectasia, verruca, and much more. It is a unique Nd:Yag with a 650- microsecond pulse duration for painless treatments without skin contact and no need for anesthetics.2 I still use ice pre/post treatment for some, but it is not necessary with the technology. The return on investment is quick as it is a device used all day.
3. Microneedling Device
This color-blind device treats age-related skin conditions such as wrinkles, scarring, and laxity, but more evidence shows other benefits in transdermal drug delivery. Every single office should have this to offer to patients. Patients are busy and want effective results without downtime, so microneedling is a great option. It is a cost-effective treatment with minimal discomfort; results are evident after 4 treatments spaced 4 weeks apart.3
4. Visual Dx
Art Papier, MD, founded this easy-to-use platform available on all electronic devices. Visual Dx is an excellent reference tool with an extensive skin tone image library- the most abundant available currently. It is a powerful intelligence platform that provides the most updated information and an option, in layperson terms, for patients that can be printed or emailed.
5. Klara Patient Engagement Platform
Get ready to hang up your telephone lines and save many trees after incorporating this platform into your practice. It is a HIPAA-compliant texting platform to communicate with patients with direct messaging, voicemail transcriptions, and telehealth. It is the perfect platform to send patient education and instructions after a visit, schedule appointments, answer questions about laboratory results and attach photos and referrals. You can create your templates for a quick upload. Genius!
These are my additional must-haves to the standard items, such as microscopes, high-frequency desiccators, etc. Innovative devices are always coming to the forefront, but not all will be winners, as I have experienced. In the end, we all know that a superior patient experience establishes loyalty, and referrals and patient-centric options are critical to the growth of any practice. So why not make it easier for yourself?
- Buch J, Criton S. Dermoscopy saga – A tale of 5 centuries. Indian J Dermatol. 2021 Mar-Apr;66(2):174-178. doi: 10.4103/ijd.IJD_691_18
- Cook-Bolden F. A novel 0.65 millisecond pulsed 1064 nm laser to treat skin of color without skin cooling or anesthetics. J Drugs Dermatol. 2011;10(12 Suppl): s10-s11.
- Ablon G. Safety and effectiveness of an automated microneedling device in improving the signs of aging skin. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2018;11(8):29-34.