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Tele-dermatology. A Randomised Controlled Study Using Polaroid Photography to Diagnose Skin Conditions P.Leggett 1 ,D.Gilliland 1 ,M.Cupples 1 ,K.McGlade 1 , R.Corbett 2 , M.Stevenson 3 ,K.Steele 1

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Tele-dermatology

A Randomised Controlled Study Using Polaroid Photography to Diagnose Skin Conditions

P.Leggett1,D.Gilliland1,M.Cupples1,K.McGlade1, R.Corbett2, M.Stevenson3,K.Steele1

Dept General Practice Queens University1 Dept Dermatology Belfast City Hospital2 Dept Epidemiology Queens University3

Background: Of all GP consultations, 15% are for dermatological conditions-4% of these require referral to a dermatologist.In this study we assess the value of polaroid photography in helping a dermatologist manage patients referred from GPs. Our objective was to determine whether a polaroid photograph(s), with a clinical history, enables a final diagnosis & management plan to be made without the patient having to see the dermatologist face to face.

Methodology

  • Randomised controlled trial

  • 136 patients (5months-94 years; 55male,81 female)

  • Recruited from 5 urban general practices

  • Polaroid photograph(s) taken by referring GP

  • Standard clinical history sent with photograph(s)

Outcomes

136 Patients

65 Control 71 Study Cases

Seen by dermatologist 45 26

in the usual way photo-diagnosis photo-diagnosis

possible not possible

18 27

did not need needed to Seen in usual

to be seen be seen way

Of the 27 photo-diagnosis patients who needed to be seen, 20 attended their out-patient appointment and in 19 (95%) of these the face-to-face diagnosis was identical to the photo-diagnosis.In one case the diagnosis was changed from eczema to psoriasis.

Conclusions

  • Polaroid photographs can be used by dermatologists to aid the diagnosis of various dermatological conditions

  • Polaroid photography offers the potential to reduce the number of attendances at dermatology out-patient clinics

  • Polaroid photography represents a simple, easy to use and inexpensive method of relaying relevant information to a dermatologist

Table summarising the diagnoses in the study and control groups


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