Article in Technology, New York City categories.

Meet a Doctor Who’s Bringing Dermatology Into the Digital Age

The field of medicine is constantly making technological advancements that change lives daily, but it’s a field that is notoriously decades behind in patient interaction…

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The field of medicine is constantly making technological advancements that change lives daily, but it’s a field that is notoriously decades behind in patient interaction technology.

Some doctors have started to get the hint, and we're particularly intrigued by one NYC-based dermatologist named Dr. Buka who is taking the modernization of medicine to new heights. The attention to detail  Buka puts into his practice is apparent from the home page of his website. The layout is Web 2.0 in nature -- simplistic and youthful. It’s easy to book an appointment, take a virtual tour of all four offices, browse the services, and meet your potential doctors. This layout of the website was made by a friend when Buka opened his first office in the Financial District, an office that he is planning on reopening this August after its unfortunate decommissioning due to Hurricane Sandy. The effort put into the website has a hefty pay-off of over 2,000 hits per day.

Buka has also made himself available to his clients through his presence on social media sites. Twitter is more than just an outlet for him to post links to pertinent and interesting articles related to dermatology. He notes that clients are able to ask him questions through Twitter, and he can respond to them promptly – saving them the time they would have potentially spent in the office. Buka says his online presence “lets patients know we're listening and that we're available,” but he bears in mind that there is no substitute for face-to-face doctor-patient care.

Dr. Buka went beyond social media to streamline patient-care using technology in 2011 with the development of a cancerous mole-checker app, SpotCheck. Since its creation, there have been over 3,000 submissions to SpotCheck. “Send a photo to a team of board certified dermatologists, answer two simple questions, and within 24 hours they let you know whether it looks atypical.” Buka also mentions: “There are other features to the app, like locating nearby dermatologists for an in-person skin examination and information about moles and melanoma”.  Buka points out that there are many reasons not to go to a dermatologist, “Your insurance might not cover it, the co-pay for your insurance might be too expensive, or you might not have time to go in for an appointment.”

SpotCheck alleviates all of these problems by bringing dermatology into the virtual space. This isn’t really possible with most other fields of medicine because of the visual aspect of most diagnoses.  The best part about the app is that it’s free, all you have to pay for is the service which, often times, is much less than an insurance co-pay. Buka states there are future plans for including a wider range of skin conditions like acne and eczema.

This use of technology to make the patient’s time in the office as efficient as possible has not diluted the quality of the in-patient experience. The moist towel you receive when you enter the office, warm in the wintertime and cool in the summertime, is an intimate touch that makes you instantly unwind. The availability of online forms that you can fill out prior to your visit makes the in-office experience much smoother and faster.  The unique, hip, and welcoming interior of each office leaves you charmed while you flip through magazines during your wait. Dr.Buka’s philosophy on patient care is that if you make it a homey experience, people will come back.

Know any doctors who deliver the kind of modern day service that Dr. Buka provides? Let us know in the comments!

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