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Teledermatology Can Increase Access for Patients With High-Risk Melanoma: Erik Jaklitsch

Video

Dermatology lends itself well to telemedicine, particularly as a screening tool to reduce wait times and increase access to care for patients with high-risk melanoma, said Erik Jaklitsch, second-year medical student at the University of Pittsburgh.

This content was produced independently by The American Journal of Managed Care® and is not endorsed by the American Academy of Dermatology.

Dermatology lends itself well to telemedicine, particularly as a screening tool to reduce wait times and increase access to care for patients with high-risk melanoma, said Erik Jaklitsch, second-year medical student at the University of Pittsburgh.

Jaklitsch presented research on diagnosing melanomas through teledermatology at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology.1

Use of teledermatology increased at the start of the pandemic and has continued to be used because of the promise of the technology to identify malignancies. Jaklitsch’s poster analyzed 618 patients diagnosed with melanoma between March 1, 2020, and March 20, 2022, comparing those who initially presented via in-person appointment with those initially presenting through a teledermatology visit.

Transcript

Is telehealth particularly useful in dermatology, and why?

It is a field that lends itself particularly well to telemedicine. I think that teledermatology has its highest utility as a screening tool. Or at least, what we can say from this study, the results here specifically, are that it may have really great utility for helping to screen out the highest risk thick lesions for melanoma to be seen quickly, because there's a lot of conditions that people go to the dermatologist for. Some of them are malignant, and some of them are not malignant and not life-threatening and still painful and frustrating to deal with. And some of them are cosmetic. There's a wide spectrum of what people go to the dermatologist for.

But teledermatology might be an option to help reduce wait time and increase access so that things that are the highest mortality and the highest risk lesions, particularly for melanoma, can get caught in an efficient manner, and then hopefully, alleviate some of the strain that we have on the system.

[Teledermatology is] not replacing in-person dermatology, because we actually use it as a preface to that, but rather it is helping to make it more efficient, at least, right now, that is what the evidence seems to support.

Reference

1. Jaklitsch E, Shah V, Agarwal A, et al. A comparison of melanomas diagnosed through teledermatology vs. in-person visits. Presented at: American Academy of Dermatology Annual Meeting; March 17-21, 2023; New Orleans, LA. Poster 44399.

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