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Revista médica de Chile

versión impresa ISSN 0034-9887

Resumen

RAMIREZ-CORNEJO, Cristian  y  GRUPO DE TELEDERMATOLOGIA UC-CHRISTUS et al. Rapid implementation of tele-dermatology during COVID-19 pandemic in an academic dermatology department. Rev. méd. Chile [online]. 2021, vol.149, n.10, pp.1467-1472. ISSN 0034-9887.  http://dx.doi.org/10.4067/s0034-98872021001001467.

Background:

The day after COVID-19 quarantine started, we initiated patient care through Tele-dermatology.

Aim:

To report the experience of the implementation of Telemedicine in dermatology and to assess its impact on the number of dermatological visits compared with the pre-pandemic period.

Material and methods:

The study was conducted between March 27th, 2020, and April 30th, 2020. All patients submitted clinical images of their skin condition via secure email before the telemedicine visit. All telemedicine visits were conducted using the Zoom video conferencing platform. Patient demographics and medical history were recorded. If the dermatologist was unable to reach a diagnosis, the patient was sent for an in-person visit, skin biopsy, or additional laboratory workup.

Results:

We recorded 1,357 Tele dermatology visits from 1,222 patients aged 29 ± 18 years (38% males). Visits increased from 104 to 298 from the first to the last week, corresponding to 17% of the patient volume seen before the pandemic (1,709 in-person patients/week). A preliminary diagnosis was made in 95% of cases. Ninety percent of patients sent photos. Fifty eight percent of cases were chronic diseases, and were classified as inflammatory in 68%, infectious in 15%, neoplastic/tumoral in 7%, or other conditions in 11%. Less than 1% of these visits were COVID-19 related.

Conclusions:

In this prospective study of Tele-dermatology lasting five weeks, a preliminary diagnosis could be made in approximately 95% of cases and in the first five weeks of implementation, a volume of consultations equivalent to 17% of those made in the pre-pandemic period was carried out. Therefore, Tele-dermatology can be implemented quickly and successfully in practices when healthcare access is limited.

Palabras clave : COVID-19; Dermatology; Pandemics; Telemedicine.

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