Most community hospitals do not have sufficient access to dermatologists. Seeking to increase access and improve patient outcomes, Carrie Kovarick, MD and other collaborators from the American Academy of Dermatology piloted a teledermatology platform, AccessDerm in health clinics in Botswana and Philadelphia. Based on the success of AccessDerm, the team decided to explore the potential for teledermatology to increase patient access to care in urgent settings.
We partnered with Carrie Kovarick, MD and Jules Lipoff, MD to study the effect of teledermatology on response times and access to care with the ultimate goal to establish a sustainable business model.
To start, we launched a pilot study to test the viability of teledermatology in inpatient settings at Penn Presbyterian Medical Center and Pennsylvania Hospital.
The pilot was structured to measure the impact of teledermatology on average handling time by the provider as well as time to resolution for the patient. Our assumption was that if time could be reduced for these metrics, patient access and provider satisfaction would improve.
The results of the pilot were published in The Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare in 2015.
Teledermatology alone sufficiently answered consultations in 10 of 25 instances. The team also observed a 16-minute reduction in average handling time and a 132-minute reduction in time to resolution for the patient.
Based on these findings, the team plans to continue to expand their analysis of business use cases of teledermatology nationwide and is currently in the process of developing a second pilot in partnership with Independence Blue Cross to test how teledermatology might improve access, outcomes, and satisfaction in outpatient settings.