Consultant Connect’s teledermatology project in Leeds is working to speed up diagnosis of skin lesions and reduce demand on the 2WW pathway. Photos of patients’ skin are taken using the PhotoSAF feature within the Consultant Connect App and the photos are then included on the eRS 2WW referral. By including photos in the referral, dermatologists are able to make decisions quickly about how to treat patients, including whether they need to be seen in clinic.
The PhotoSAF feature met Leeds’ requirements – particularly around information governance, compliance and ensuring the new process worked for both primary care and secondary care. Because it’s so simple, GPs didn’t need any training to get started.
In October 2018 we shared the 3-month project results and now, six months since the launch, the outcomes continue to improve and are extremely positive against the project goals set:
PROJECT GOAL 1 – Meet spiralling demand in urgent referrals and provide better utilisation of clinic capacity, reducing unnecessary appointments;
- In the 6 months since the commencement of the project 3,799 patients have had images reviewed rather than going straight to clinic.
- The number of patients discharged at triage is increasing with the rate rising from 9.5% at the start of the project to a rate of 28% recorded in January 2019 thus increasingly releasing clinic capacity.
- Consultant time is released as the time for triage ranges from 30 seconds to 2 minutes as opposed to an allocated 12-minute allocated slot for a face to face consultation.
PROJECT GOAL 2 – Improved performance against Cancer Waiting Times (CWT) standards through improved access to diagnostic tests and/ or advice:
- Patients undergoing image review have their initial assessment by a consultant within 2 working days as opposed to waiting up to 14 days for an outpatient appointment.
- Data shows that patients consistently have 12 days taken off their 62-day pathway under this new system.
PROJECT GOAL 3 – Improved patient experience:
- Patients are assessed within hours rather than weeks reducing time waiting and worrying.
- More rapid diagnosis and treatment.
- Less disruption to individuals with avoidance of unnecessary hospital visits.
By using tech to improve what they already had rather than starting from scratch, Leeds were able to launch their project quickly and economically. And patients have benefited from Leeds’ success. Read the HSJ’s recent article about this project.
Reduce demand for dermatology referrals in your area
Using PhotoSAF to reduce demand for dermatology is straightforward. We work with GPs in your area to signup and download the Consultant Connect App. Photos taken using the app can then be shared with local clinicians by existing methods, such as eRS, or by using Photo Advice & Guidance. If your local clinicians are unable to review photos or need support with this activity, we can introduce you to locum GPwSI and consultant dermatologists who will be able to respond to requests made using Photo Advice & Guidance. Please get in touch to discuss.
Key data at six months :
The percentage of patients discharged at triage is now 28%
Consultant time is saved – triage now ranges from 30 seconds to 2 minutes
Patients undergo initial consultant assessment within 2 working days.
Harnessing teledermatology to improve cancer care in Leeds
Read about our latest PhotoSAF project in this HSJ feature.