Teledermatology improves patient triage

February 27, 2014

The future of hospital dermatologic consultations may lie in teledermatology. According to a study published this month in JAMA Dermatology, using teledermatology for inpatient hospital consultations, in addition to an in-person dermatologist, can improve patient triage and efficiency.

 

The future of hospital dermatologic consultations may lie in teledermatology. According to a study published this month in JAMA Dermatology, using teledermatology for inpatient hospital consultations, in addition to an in-person dermatologist, can improve patient triage and efficiency.

The study found that teledermatology was a reliable source of consultation for inpatients. Researchers with the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, evaluated 50 adult inpatient dermatology consultations and to what extent the in-person dermatologist agreed with teledermatologists on the triage of the patient.

If a patient was recommended by the in-person dermatologist to be seen the same day, the teledermatologist agreed 90 percent of the time, according to the study. If a biopsy was recommended by the in-person dermatologist, the teledermatologist agreed 95 percent of the cases, on average.

“When the teledermatologist did not choose the same course of action, there was substantial diagnostic agreement between the teledermatologist and the in-person dermatologist,” the study stated. “The teledermatologists were able to triage 60 percent of consultations to be seen the next day or later.”

On average, 10 percent of patients were triaged by teledermatologists to be seen as outpatients after discharge.

“Our study suggests that teledermatology is reliable for the initial triage of inpatient dermatologic consultations at an academic medical center and that it can potentially increase efficiency,” study authors concluded. “We anticipated that future studies that refine the model presented here may find stronger concordance and efficiency gains.”