HumanInsight Direct-to-Consumer Teledermatology in Germany: A Retrospective Analysis of 1,999 Teleconsultations Suggests Positive Impact on Patient Care
Telemed J E Health. 2023 Mar 2. doi: 10.1089/tmj.2022.0472. Online ahead of print.
Background: There is a high demand for dermatological care in Germany. As use of teledermatology has increased significantly, this study aimed to investigate the impact of teledermatology on patient care. Methods: This retrospective cross-sectional study used data from a direct-to-consumer teledermatology platform using store-and-forward technology available in Germany between July 2021 and April 2022. Additional patient characteristics were collected using a voluntary follow-up questionnaire, 28 days after teleconsultation. Results: Data of 1,999 enrolled patients were evaluated. Patients had a mean age of 36 years, and 61.2% (1,223/1,999) lived in a rural residence. The most common diagnoses included eczema (36.0%, 701/1,946), fungal diseases (15.4%, 299/1,946), and acne (12.5%, 243/1,946). The follow-up questionnaire was answered by 166 patients (8.3%, 166/1,999). In total, 42.8% (71/166) of patients had undergone no previous medical consultation. The most frequent reason for using teledermatology was the waiting time for a dermatology outpatient appointment (62.0%, 103/166). A total of 62.0% (103/166) participants rated the treatment success as good or very good, while 86.1% (143/166) rated the quality of telemedical care as equal or better to that of an outpatient visit. Conclusion: This study showed that patients often use teledermatology because of functional barriers (waiting times). In this cohort, the diagnoses strongly corresponded to reasons for outpatient presentation. Most patients rated the quality of teledermatology service as at least equivalent to that of outpatient physician visits and reported treatment success. Thus, teledermatology can relieve the burden of outpatient care while providing high benefits from the patient's perspective.
PMID:36862525 | DOI:10.1089/tmj.2022.0472
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