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eConsults Increase Access to Dermatologic Care

J Am Acad Dermatol; ePub 2017 Oct 20; Naka, et al

Electronic consultations (eConsults) increase access to dermatologic care and reduce wait times for patients receiving medical care at community health centers, according to a recent study. Furthermore, implementing dermoscopy into teledermatology could increase access to skin cancer screening and treatment for medically disadvantaged populations. Researchers evaluated the impact of implementing a teledermatology consultation program with dermoscopy on a statewide scale, focusing on access to care and skin cancer screening for medically underserved populations. They performed a descriptive, retrospective, cohort study of 2,385 dermatology referrals from primary care from June 2014 through November 2015 and found:

  • Before implementation of eConsults, access to dermatology was limited; only 139 (11%) of 1,258 referrals resulted in a confirmed appointment with a median wait time of 77 days.
  • Post implementation, 499 of 1,127 consults (44%) were sent electronically, and of those, 16% required a face-to-face visit with a median wait time of 28 days.
  • 10 malignancies were identified via eConsults.
  • Overall consult volume remained stable pre- and post-eConsult implementation.

Citation:

Naka F, Lu J, Porto A, Villagra J, Wu ZH, Anderson D. Impact of dermatology eConsults on access to care and skin cancer screening in underserved populations: A model for teledermatology services in community health centers. [Published online ahead of print October 20, 2017]. J Am Acad Dermatol. doi:10.1016/j.jaad.2017.09.017.

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