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Store-and-Forward Teledermatology: Assessment of Validity in a Series of 2000 Observations

Actas Dermo-Sifiliográficas (English Edition)
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/s1578-2190(11)70803-4
  • Teledermatology
  • Telemedicine
  • Store-And-Forward
  • Emergency Services
  • Validity
  • Reliability
  • Teledermatología
  • Telemedicina
  • Almacenamiento
  • Urgencias
  • Validez
  • Fiabilidad
  • Medicine


Abstract Background and objectives The aim of this study was to assess the validity of store-and-forward teledermatology as a tool to support physicians in primary care and hospital emergency services and reduce the requirement for face-to-face appointments. Diagnostic validity and the approach chosen for patient management (face-to-face vs teledermatology) were compared according to patient origin and diagnostic group. Material and methods Digital images from 100 patients were assessed by 20 different dermatologists and the diagnoses offered were compared with those provided in face-to-face appointments (gold standard). The proposed management of the different groups of patients was also compared. Results The percentage complete agreement was 69.05% (95% confidence interval [CI], 66.9%–71.0%). The aggregate agreement was 87.80% (95% CI, 86.1%–89.0%). When questioned about appropriate management of the patients, observers elected face-to-face consultation in 60% of patients (95% CI, 58%–61%) and teledermatology in 40% (95% CI, 38%–41%). Diagnostic validity was higher in patients from primary care (76.1% complete agreement and 91.8% aggregate agreement) than those from hospital emergency services (61.8% complete agreement, 83.4% aggregate agreement) ( P<.001) and teledermatology was also chosen more often in patients from primary care compared with those from emergency services (42% vs 38%; P =.003). In terms of diagnostic group, higher validity was observed for patients with infectious diseases (73.3% complete agreement and 91.3% aggregate agreement) compared to those with inflammatory disease (70.8% complete agreement and 86.4% aggregate agreement) or tumors (63.0% complete agreement and 87.2% aggregate agreement) ( P<.001). Teledermatology was also chosen more often in patients with infectious diseases (52%) than in those with inflammatory disease (40%) or tumors (28%) ( P<.001). Conclusions Store-and-forward teledermatology has a high level of diagnostic validity, particularly in those cases referred from primary care and in infectious diseases. It can be considered useful for the diagnosis and management of patients at a distance and would reduce the requirement for face-to-face consultation by 40%.

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