Inhealthcare is rolling out its teledermatology service after a pilot project in London showed benefits for patients and clinicians.
Every year, more than half of the UK population is affected by skin disease and nearly a quarter of these have a condition that would benefit from medical care.
Concerns about skin conditions are responsible for three million outpatient consultations every year.
The Inhealthcare platform provides a quick and secure way for images and information to be shared between family doctors and hospital dermatologists.
Feedback from the pilot project in London showed the service increased productivity and improved patient access to care, diagnostics and treatments.
Analysis of outcomes showed the service helped to discharge 38 per cent of patients with advice and without the need for a clinic appointment.
In addition, the service saved one or more appointments in 53 per cent of cases.
Inhealthcare developed the service with doctors to overcome the following challenges:
- Often GPs would take an image using their own camera, transfer this to their computer and complete an electronic referral using NHS e-Referral Service
- Sometimes GPs would use messaging services such as WhatsApp to save time sending images to specialist dermatologists
- The use of personal smartphones and messaging services meant images would often be transferred to external cloud providers
- Commissioners wanted to speed up the process of referral from GP to specialist.
Inhealthcare delivered the following solutions:
- The Inhealthcare app introduced a digital referral form for GPs
- This form allows GPs to capture patient demographics, referral information and images
- The app sends the form to the Inhealthcare platform, where it is viewable by dermatologists
- The form is securely deleted from the app
- A copy of the form is sent to the GP and attached to the patient record.
Jamie Innes, product director at Inhealthcare, said: “These simple but effective steps were co-created with clinicians to improve referrals from primary to secondary care.
“As NHSX has said, teledermatology allows GPs to benefit from easy and quick access to specialist advice and guidance from hospital dermatologists, enabling patients to be referred more quickly and efficiently for treatment and diagnosis.
“Our technology can increase capacity in dermatology services and help specialists to spend more time with those patients who need the most care for their skin conditions.”