A new Penn Medicine study shows that remote consultations from dermatologists using a secure smart phone app are reliable at prioritizing care for hospitalized patients with skin conditions. Researchers in the
A national shortage and uneven distribution of dermatologists in
"Dermatology support is essential for hospitalized patients, but unfortunately many hospitals lack dermatology coverage. Teledermatology may help optimize time spent by dermatologists in the inpatient setting by potentially reducing or eliminating trips to the hospital, and allowing some dermatologists to batch consultations or schedule non-urgent inpatients to be seen after discharge for outpatient appointments," said senior study author
The new study compared assessments of 50 hospitalized patients in a high acuity academic medical center, the Hospital of the
When the inpatient dermatologist recommended a patient be seen the same day, the teledermatologists independently suggested the same course of action in 90 percent of cases. The teledermatologists agreed in 95 percent of cases where the inpatient dermatologist had recommended a biopsy. The doctors completely agreed on a diagnosis 82 percent of the time, and partially agreed in 88 percent of cases, which is in line with the standard variation expected between providers.
The team used a secure "store-and-forward" teledermatology smart phone app, which was developed through Penn Medicine's teledermatology program, in concert with the
"Our study of this model demonstrated that teledermatology consultations are not only effective at distinguishing cases in need for an urgent consultation in a hospital environment, but can also streamline follow-up care for both patients and clinicians," said Dr. Kovarik.
"In addition to addressing physician shortages from a clinical standpoint, teledermatology programs are very important for vulnerable citizens in
The Penn team also included
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