Study: In-Person, Remote Dermatologists Provide Similar Diagnoses
February 14, 2014 in News
Doctors evaluating patients’ skin conditions via a mobile phone provided nearly identical assessments and diagnoses as doctors examining the conditions in person, according to a new study published in JAMA Dermatology, Reuters reports (Seaman, Reuters, 2/13).
For the study, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania analyzed 50 hospital patients who had skin conditions that needed evaluation.
All of the study participants were treated in person by a physician. Pictures of their skin conditions then were sent to two independent dermatologists for analysis and diagnosis (Sifferlin, “Healthland,” Time, 2/13).
The researchers found that when in-person dermatologists recommended that patients be examined by a specialist that day, the remote dermatologists agreed 90% of the time.
Similarly, the remote dermatologists agreed with the in-person physicians 95% of the time when a biopsy was recommended.
Overall, the remote and in-person dermatologists agreed on diagnoses 82% of the time and partially agreed 88% of the time (Gold, FierceHealthIT, 2/13).
The study also found that differences in diagnosis and treatment recommendations typically were the result of the remote physicians suggesting more conservative treatment or requesting more biopsies. The physicians also differed in their treatment recommendations or biopsy requests for patients who had known skin conditions or drug reactions (Wickline, MedPage Today, 2/13).
Misha Rosenbach, the study’s lead author, said, “A substantial agreement between in-person and teledermatology consultants in this study demonstrates the reliability and potential of this platform” (FierceHealthIT, 2/13).