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Teledermatology: a tool for remote supervision of a general practitioner with special interest in dermatology

Authors


  • Conflict of interest: none declared.

Dr Anthony D. Ormerod, University of Aberdeen, Polwarth Building, Foresterhill Road, Aberdeen AB25 2ZN, UK
E-mail: a.d.ormerod@abdn.ac.uk

Summary

Background.  Teledermatology (TD) has been developed as an alternative to face-to-face (FTF) dermatology care in remote areas.

Aim.  To assess the feasibility of TD in remote supervision and education of a general practitioner with special interest (GPwSI), to reduce FTF consultations with the consultant dermatologist, and to provide appropriate diagnosis and care. Our secondary aim was to evaluate patient satisfaction with this mode of consultation.

Methods.  A TD service in Aberdeen was set up to augment supervision of a remote rural GP training in dermatology. This service was audited over a 2-year period to assess its usefulness in the education of the remote GP.

Results.  Prospective data on 230 selected referrals was analysed. Store-and-forward TD provided a high level of patient satisfaction, and was effective in remote supervision and education of a GPwSI in dermatology. FTF consultations with the consultant were avoided in 69% of consultations, and diagnostic agreement was considered high (61%). Educational feedback was given to the GP in 66% of consultations.

Conclusions.  TD can supplement infrequent specialist dermatology service in remote areas, as in this case. We conclude that for selected patients, TD was a useful training tool for supervising the GPwSI, and ensuring clinical governance and quality assurance in clinics in a remote rural area. However, this model of care was limited by cost and the inherent limitations of TD.

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