Primary Care clinicians in Surrey have had access to Teledermatology via Consultant Connect since 2020, allowing them to take IG-secure patient photos of skin conditions to send to consultant dermatologists for advice.
We spoke with Cathy Goldstone, an Advanced Nurse Practitioner, to find out how the use of Teledermatology has affected her ways of working.
How did you seek advice regarding dermatological conditions before Teledermatology was launched in Surrey?
‘Before Teledermatology was available, I would refer approximately 70% of patients I saw with skin lesions. The other 30% would usually be conditions such as seborrheic or actinic keratosis, which I would be able to treat within the practice.
‘As a rule, if I am deciding how to treat a skin lesion for more than 10 seconds, I need to seek expert advice via Teledermatology. Even if I am confident that a lesion is cancerous, I often use the Consultant Connect Teledermatology service to send a photo message for clarification. The dermatologist is very quick at responding.’
Have you had a positive experience speaking to the consultant dermatologist?
‘Hugely – if I am confident about treating a patient’s condition but want that added reassurance from an expert, Dr Mohammed Shareef, the Consultant Dermatologist, will reiterate the steps for treatment and remind me of particular side effects. Dr Shareef’s advice is rapid, usually responding within 48 hours.’
What advice would you give to clinicians who are hesitant to use Teledermatology?
‘To try it out. I love the service, and the fact that my activity integrates with Docman makes my life and the entire process much easier and more straightforward. If I receive a response from the consultant dermatologist advising that a patient requires a 2-week-wait pathway when I’m not working, this can be actioned on my behalf, so there are no delays to the patient’s care.’
‘Additionally, the fact that I can use my desktop to upload photos that patients have taken to attach to a teledermatology query and then receive a notification to my mobile phone via the app when I receive a response is extremely beneficial.’
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