2 Are patients satisfied with a teledermatology consultation?



Background Many dermatologists have expressed concerns about the development of teledermatology. It is a radical shift from the traditional face-to-face consultation with the dermatologist as the GP takes digital images of the patient's skin condition and emails them with the history to the consultant dermatologist for his or her opinion. The dermatologist emails the opinion back to the GP who then informs the patient. The objective of this study was to see if the patients who had undergone a teledermatology consultation were satisfied with the service. This was an attempt to involve patients in the decision-making process regarding the development of a new health care service.

Methods A postal questionnaire was sent to the first 180 patients of the teledermatology pilot service. 114 (64% response rate) were returned, 52 (46%) of patients did not require a hospital attendance and 62 (54%) did.

Prefer to use the telederm service or wait to see the dermatologist face to face?
Prefer to wait for hospital consultation rather than use the telederm service if this meant a much longer wait?
Would you use the telederm service again?
Satisfied or very satisfied with the telederm service (had to choose one of five options)
Did NOT require hospital visit
64% yes
21% yes
98% yes
Did require hospital visit
49% yes
19% yes
87% yes

Results and Conclusions There were some differences in the responses between those patients that required a hospital visit and those that did not. A traditional face-to-face consultation would have been preferred by 20% of patients . The patients that did attend hospital seemed to have a preference for traditional face-to-face consultation compared those that did not attend hospital but nearly 90% of all patients returning the questionnaire would use the service again.