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Study Confirms Reliability of Teledermatology to Triage Inpatient Consultations

As more individuals receive healthcare, health practices need to look to technology in order to offer effective and efficient care for their patients. Smart phones have proven to be an increasingly reliable method for store-and-forward consultations in the dermatological field. Recently, a hospital in Rhode Island tested Google Glass as a method of consult. More studies will continue to be conducted to test the reliability of these surfacing methods of dermatology consultation.

A perspective study from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania has looked at whether store-and-forward teledermatology systems are reliable for use during initial triage of inpatient dermatology consults. 

Fifty participants were each evaluated separately by two independent teledermatologists and one in-person dermatologist. Then the triage decisions from the three doctors were compared. The results showed that if the in-person dermatologist recommended a same-day consult, 90% of the time the teledermatologists said the same.  The teledermatologists recommended biopsy 95% of the time that in-person-docs did and teledermatologists successfully triaged 60% of the patients to be seen the next day or after. In the cases where the teledermatologist and in-person doctor did not agree, which was less that 10% of the time, it was mainly due to difference in practice styles. 

The study concluded that teledermatology can be a reliable method of dermatology inpatient triage and has the potential to be a reliable way to reduce wait times and increase practice efficiency.  

Source: JAMA Dermatol. 2014;150(4):419-424

Image: Instant Vantage

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