Department of Medicine; Fellows and Residents
dermatology diagnostic concordance, diagnostic concordance, online dermatology, teledermatology, telemedicine, virtual care
With the advances in health information technology and the need for increased access to specialized health care, the advent of telemedicine was designed to bring care to individuals at a distance. Telemedicine decreases barriers to health care and brings medical specialists to underserved areas and populations. We have seen a tremendous increase in the need and utilization of telemedicine during the COVID-19 pandemic due to the lockdowns and social distancing efforts. Virtual care continues to be extended to patients to maintain their health care needs when in-person clinic appointments are not feasible or ideal such as seen during a pandemic. Telemedicine is an additional tool that has proven vital to our healthcare system. To provide optimal care, a strong technological infrastructure must be in place. Once in practice, positive outcomes have been noted for patients and healthcare providers as diagnosis, treatment, and appropriate triage can be made virtually and at the patients' convenience. To ensure high-quality care is provided through the Veterans Affairs teledermatology consultation service, we investigated the concordance of teledermatology diagnoses with clinical examination findings through a retrospective chart review covering a one-year time period. Our study found a concordance of 75.3% between the teledermatology diagnoses and the in-person clinical diagnoses. The main limitation we found to virtual examination is the inability to perform total body skin examinations. We found that 60.2% of patients had additional diagnoses when examined in person, with 8.4% of patients having an additional malignant diagnosis. These findings highlight the need for in-person examinations when feasible to ensure that no other diagnoses go undiscovered if not captured on the submitted images for teledermatology consultation. Despite the limitations posed by photographic examination, teledermatology can be used as a reliable method for diagnosis when a conventional in-person examination is not readily available or ideal, such as during a pandemic, and can serve as a powerful triaging tool.
Gerhardt, C. A., Foels, R., Grewe, S., & Baldwin, B. T. (2021). Assessing the Diagnostic Accuracy of Teledermatology Consultations at a Local Veterans Affairs Dermatology Clinic. LVHN Scholarly Works. Retrieved from https://scholarlyworks.lvhn.org/research-historical-works/56