Published on Apr 2, 2019
An innovative dermatology service that has reduced waiting times for patients in North East Lincolnshire is in the running for a national award.
The teledermatology technology introduced by Virgin Care in 2017 has benefited hundreds of patients.
Teledermatology allows specialists quickly to examine and triage cases from photographic images, recommending referrals to secondary care where appropriate but otherwise triaging cases back to the community with a suitable management plan. Teledermatology also improves resource allocation in secondary care. Specialists can triage, diagnose and prepare management plans, as appropriate for several times more patients an hour by using the teledermatology solution than by seeing patients in person.
Virgin Care provides the dermatology service on behalf of the NHS North East Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group.
“Teledermatology aims to provide quicker access to a specialist opinion when needed,” explains Dr Ekta Elston, Medical Director at NHS North East Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group. “It allows a digital photograph to be assessed by a specialist who can often advise the best treatment to the GP.”
The service, which has been shortlisted for a British Medical Journal (BMJ) award, has reduced waiting times in North East Lincolnshire with 99% of potential cancer cases are seen within two weeks (compared to 93% nationally). Routine cases are now being seen within four weeks.
Dr Javed Mohungoo, Virgin Care’s National Clinical Lead for Dermatology and Chair for the for the Dermatology Striving for Better Network, said: ‘I am very proud of the achievement of our Dermatology Team and being shortlisted for Dermatology Team of the Year is recognition of all our passion, and hard work and partnership with NHS colleagues’.
The team have been invited to deliver a presentation on their entry on 24 April at BMA House in London in front of a panel of three expert judges and have also be featured in a BMJ article online and in print.