Dr Robert Weaver, a GP in Somerset and Clinical Director of Mendip PCN, now asks patients to send photos of their dermatology conditions to him via his practice’s secure NHS email address, in order to help manage these conditions remotely during COVID-19. If he has a concern about a patient, relevant photos are uploaded to the Consultant Connect platform and sent to local consultants for rapid Advice & Guidance.
We asked Dr Weaver to share a recent example of how he has used this new way of working to help one of his patients.
“A 62-year-old female patient contacted the surgery worried about a skin lesion which had become inflamed over the past 2 weeks. It had brown pigmentation and she was concerned about the possibility that it was cancerous.
During the current Coronavirus pandemic we have put in measures in line with national guidance to try to consult as much as possible remotely, reducing face-to-face contact with patients where possible, to minimise risk to both staff and patients. During the telephone consultation, I asked the patient if she would be happy to send photographs of the skin lesion for me to review. I emailed a copy of the Consultant Connect information leaflet “Taking Photos for Teledermatology Guide – For Patients” to the patient which provides helpful tips on how to take a good quality photograph for Teledermatology.
The patient sent photographs to the practice via email for me to review. I suspected that the lesion was a pigmented seborrheic keratosis. However, given the nature of the presentation, I decided it would be best to get a dermatology opinion. I discussed this with the patient who was happy for a Teledermatology referral to be made.
I uploaded the photographs with a brief history to the Consultant Connect platform and had a response from our secondary care dermatology colleagues in less than one hour, confirming that the lesion had the appearance of a seborrheic keratosis and no further referral was needed. I exported the Teledermatology report as a PDF and uploaded this to the patient’s record.”
How Patient-Initiated Teledermatology via Consultant Connect helped:
“I was able to reassure the patient that the lesion was not concerning and that a specialist had reviewed the photographs and confirmed this. The patient went away both reassured and pleased with the outcome and how quickly I was able to deal with her concern.”
Dr Weaver also commented that: “This is an excellent service, user friendly and easy to use. Try it and you’ll quickly see the benefits. The ability to send several photographs either by uploading from files or by taking a photo via the Consultant Connect App is fast, easy and secure. It’s much better than other Teledermatology services that I’ve used in the past. The service notifies you via email and as an alert on the app as soon as there has been a response from the specialists. It also allows you to reply to the specialist if you have any further questions which is helpful, or simply close the case and upload the summary to the patient records. I would highly recommend it.”