Telemedicine continues to expand into new opportunities with a variety of applications. We’ve written about telemedical support for first responders, cochlear implant adjustment sessions, hypertension management, headaches, and more. I’ve personally experienced telepsychiatry for routine Adult ADHD check-ins. There are still many types of medical care where an internet connection, a camera, and a display are not going to be sufficient. I had complex rotator cuff surgery which for sure wasn’t suitable for remote management.The list of appropriate telehealth and telemedicine applications keeps growing, however, and sometimes the advance is concomitant with other tech developments.
Boston-based 3Derm Systems, Inc.‘s 3Derm imaging system enables teledermatology triage between primary care physicians (PCPs) and dermatologists. Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer; one in five Americans develops skin cancer at some time. Nearly 5 million people are treated for skin cancer each year, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Appointments with dermatologists are often very hard to get, with wait times averaging 29 days, because of the millions of people who visit dermatologists for benign or non-life-threatening conditions. A malignant skin cancer, however, needs urgent intervention.
Following a simple protocol, the PCP uses the 3Derm handheld device to capture the same three views of a mark on the skin that a dermatologist uses. The doctor then sends the images and notes to a secure cloud server where they are reviewed remotely by a dermatologist. Only a small proportion of the scanned patients will need immediate care and the system schedules those people with expedited appointments.
According to 3Derm System’s own figures, PCPs that use 3Derm make 57% fewer dermatology referrals and 52% fewer out-of-network appointments. One hundred percent of patients receive a response within 48 hours, and 3Derm helps detect 91% of melanomas at earlier stages. This application of telemedicine between medical personnel sounds like a win-win for all.