Teledermatology improves outcomes, study shows

January 25, 2012

Use of interactive teledermatology consultations leads to improved clinical outcomes for patients, according to a new study from the University of California, Davis, School of Medicine.

Davis, Calif. - Use of interactive teledermatology consultations leads to improved clinical outcomes for patients, according to a new study from the University of California, Davis, School of Medicine.

To assess the impact of such consultations on diagnosis, disease management, and clinical outcomes, researchers conducted a retrospective analysis of 1,500 patients evaluated via live interactive teledermatology between 2003 and 2005. Investigators compared diagnoses and treatment plans between the referring physicians and the teledermatologists. Patients with two or more teledermatology visits within a one-year period were assessed for changes in clinical outcomes.

Investigators found that the 1,500 live interactive teledermatology consultations resulted in changes in diagnosis in 69.9 percent of patients, and changes in disease management in 97.7 percent, as compared with referring physicians’ diagnoses and treatment plans. Researchers further found that clinical improvement occurred in 68.7 percent of the 313 patients who had undergone at least two teledermatology visits within a year.

In the study abstract, the authors concluded, “Live interactive teledermatology consultations result in changes in diagnosis and disease management in most consultations. The numbers of live interactive teledermatology visits and changes in diagnosis and disease management are significantly associated with improved clinical outcomes.”

The study appears in the January issue of Archives of Dermatology.

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