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Teledermatology

Author: Dr Amanda Oakley, Dermatologist, Waikato Hospital, Hamilton, New Zealand, 2008. Brief update, April 2020.


Introduction

Teledermatology refers to various aspects of dermatology delivered using modern information and communications technology (ICT).

Teledermatology options

Types of teledermatology are described below.

  • Dermatological consultations using video conferencing or online meeting rooms. This is real-time teledermatology.
  • Dermatological consultations using still images and text information. This is store-and-forward teledermatology. The images are usually obtained using digital technology. An example is the skin mapping, diagnosis, and archiving system provided by MoleMap New Zealand.
  • Dermatological consultations using a mobile device. This is mobile teledermatology. It can include telephone calls, emails, social media, and specific teledermatology applications.
  • Hybrid systems.

The dermatologist may conduct consultations with another dermatologist, a general practitioner, another health practitioner or directly with the patient. Teledermatology may be restricted to a certain area such as dermatopathology (teledermatopathology), dermoscopy (teledermoscopy) or triage of skin lesions.

Participants may be in a medical facility, at home, or travelling in a remote location.

Teledermatology also may be applied to the dermatological education or peer support of dermatologists, other health practitioners or consumers (patients).

The technology may involve the telephone system or the Internet, via satellite, wireless or copper wire. It may involve broadband, Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN), mobile or dial-up connections.

Examples follow. 

Please note that DermNet has not assessed the reliability and safety of any of these systems. 

Video desktop systems

Examples of specific telehealth video systems accessed via a standard internet browser include:

Several other web meeting services may be suitable if they offer a secure platform. 

Desktop store-and-forward teledermatology

Early adopters of telemedicine included charitable organisations offering international consultations.

Teledermatology apps

Teledermatology applications for consultations using mobile devices are increasingly prevalent. Examples include:

Many health organisations have established their own systems.

Teledermatology is harnessing artificial intelligence for the diagnosis of skin diseases. Examples of early-adopter applications include:

  • LuminDx
  • VisualDx
  • Triage
  • The PASSION project — a global collaboration to recognize 5 common skin diseases on black skin using artificial intelligence. These diseases make up 80% of the problems in Africa and are amenable to management strategies available on the ground. (The project is funded by Fondation Botnar).

Teledermatoscopy systems can supplement:

Videos

See smartphone apps to check your skin.
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Related information

 

On DermNet NZ

Other websites

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