Dermatology is one of the NHS’s biggest challenges. To quote this Guardian article written by a dermatologist, “there is now a growing acceptance that in many parts of the UK it is all but impossible to see a consultant dermatologist in the NHS.” That was written 3 years ago and it’s likely the situation has worsened since then.
Interesting results, then, from our PhotoSAF dermatology project in Leeds. GPs take photos of anything unusual on their patients’ skin using PhotoSAF (our safe clinical photography tool included in our GP app) and send them straight to local Trust dermatology consultants for analysis.
“We can review the image that GPs attach to each referral and make a decision if the patient needs to be seen in clinic or not. This means we can reassure those patients who do not have skin cancer sooner, but also free up clinic time for those who need to be seen so they can start treatment more quickly.” Dr Walayat Hussain Consultant Dermatologist.
Results from 3 months of PhotoSAF usage
Leeds CCG has reported back to us as follows (verbatim):
“Since teledermatology was launched on July 1st :
· 2,771 2ww skin referrals have been made, of which 1,778 (65%) have been subject to teledermatology referral. (The remainder have not had images attached for whatever reason)
· Of the 1,778 referrals, 12 await triaging decision – so 1,766 have known triage outcomes
· Of those 1,766 decisions, in 275 cases (16%) the decision has been to discharge
· However, in the last 6 weeks, of 575 decisions, in 138 cases (24%) the decision has been to discharge – this reflects what would we would expect to happen as GPs improve the number and quality of the images they attach, and consultant dermatologists become more confident in discharging non-malignant cases.”
This is hugely promising and we will post updates on the project in the coming months.
Using PhotoSAF to 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 app. Photos taken using the app can then be shared with local clinicians by existing methods, such as ERS, or by using PhotoSAF Sharing.
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 PhotoSAF Sharing. Please get in touch to discuss.