Teledermatological visits were introduced in 1996 at the Dermatology Clinic at Nus in collaboration with some of the primary care driven cottage hospitals in the sparsely populated western parts of the county. Physicians and patient in primary care consulted a specialist at the Dermatology Clinic during a video meeting and still images of the patient’s symptoms shown in real time. Today, this work model has largely been replaced by “image referrals”, as described in the section Consultations and on-call support. The main benefits were that the patients did not have to travel to be evaluated by a dermatologist but also that primary care physicians were given the opportunity to develop his or her own expertise. Similar operations are today established with Lycksele and Skellefteå hospitals. Skin lesions/changes are photographed by a nurse at any one of the hospitals and images are stored in the patient's medical record. Thereafter, the patient schedules an appointment with a dermatologist, a meeting that is carried out using videoconference with support from a local nurse. Today, approximately five percent of all new and return visits to the dermatology unit are held remotely via video. Benefits of the work model include increased access to specialist for patients visiting hospitals in Skellefteå and Lycksele, reduction in waiting times to dermatologist and timesaving for patients who avoid travelling to the Umeå-based clinic.
This text has been originally released in the following report: Telemedicine Survey in the County Council of Västerbotten -An analysis of the present situation, conditions and areas of improvement.