In 2005, the Dermatology Clinic at Nus began evaluating the possibility to assess skin conditions such as acne, psoriasis and eczema remotely through referrals supplemented by digital images. This evaluation was the start of a large-scale expansion of image-based diagnostics and today, the clinic offers consultations based on digital images to all primary care units. Diagnostics is based on a regular primary care visit where the skin condition is photographed by local staff and the image is stored in the patient's medical record. The GP thereafter sends a referral to the dermatology clinic with reference to the image. A dermatologist at Nus assesses the image and decides whether or not the patient needs to be referred to a dermatologist at Nus, or if the patient can be managed in primary care. In about 90 percent of the cases, a physical visit is judged unnecessary.
The approach results in faster assessment of patients and better use of healthcare resources. It also contributes to a more accessible and equitable care as specialist assessment is offered to all, regardless of place of residence. Other benefits are saved time and increased cost-efficiency thanks to a reduction in unnecessary travel and specialist appointments.
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.