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Past studies have shown mixed results about the accuracy of store-and-forward (SAF) teledermatology in the evaluation of skin lesions. The objective of this study is to determine the accuracy of SAF teledermatology in the diagnosis of skin lesions and biopsy decision compared to in-person clinical evaluation. Histories and photographs of skin lesions gathered at clinic visits were sent as SAF consults to teledermatologists, whose diagnoses and biopsy decisions were recorded and compared statistically to the clinic data.Results and Discussion: We enrolled 206 patients with 308 lesions in the study. The study population was composed of 50% males (n = 104), and most patients were white (n = 179, 87%) and not Hispanic/Latino (n = 167, 81%). There was good concordance for biopsy decision between the clinic dermatologist (CD) and teledermatologist (TD) (Cohen's kappa (κ) = 0.51), which did not significantly differ when melanocytic lesions were excluded (κ = 0.54). The sensitivity and specificity of teledermatology based on biopsy decision was 0.71 and 0.85, respectively. Overall concordance in first diagnosis between the CD and TD was good (κ = 0.60). While there was no difference between CD and TD in proportion of correct diagnoses compared to histopathology, two skin cancers presentations were missed by TD. Study limitations included sample size, enrolment bias and differing amounts of teledermatologist case experience. Teledermatology has good concordance in diagnosis and biopsy decision when compared to clinic dermatology. Teledermatology may be utilized in the evaluation of skin lesions to expand access to dermatologic care.


Emily L Clarke, Jason S Reichenberg, Ammar M Ahmed, Brett Keeling, James Custer, Paul J Rathouz, Anokhi Jambusaria-Pahlajani. The utility of teledermatology in the evaluation of skin lesions. Journal of telemedicine and telecare. 2023 Jun;29(5):382-389

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PMID: 33461401

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