Teledermatology and Teledermatopathology

COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGIES IN DERMATOLOGIC PRACTICE

Teledermatology and Teledermatopathology

Sep
2002
Vol. 21. No. 3
Hon S Pak, MC

Teledermatology is in essence an application of clinical telemedlcine that deals with the practice of dermatology via the latest communication and information technology. As with other telemedicine applications, the goal is to provide the highest quality of dermatologic care more efficiently by moving patient information rather than the patients. Teledermatopathology, on the other hand, is a nonclinical telemedicine application specifically relating to diagnosis of cutaneous histologic specimens. There are numerous articles evaluating diagnostic concordance of teledermatology. However, because of a lack of a “true” gold standard, most published studies have compared diagnostic capabilities of teledermatology to our traditional face-to-face evaluations. Although the diagnostic correlation varies from study to study, most experts agree that Store and Forward and real-time video teleconferencing teledermatology is as clinically effective as a face-to-face consultation, which is less than 100% accurate. Teledermatopathology is showing similar potential, but because of the limitations on sampling error and the high cost of the alternative, robotic remote telepathology units, its acceptance into our daily practice has been delayed. This article focuses mainly on Store and Forward Teledermatology given its significant advantage and reviews the literature on teledermatology and teledermatopathology’s diagnostic concordance and acceptance.

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