Models of care for Teledermatology in Australia

Centaine Snoswell

1School of Pharmacy, The University of Queensland

Teledermatology has the potential to provide a cost-effective method for increasing access to dermatologists in Australia, especially for those in rural and remote locations. Teledermatology describes a method by which images of the skin are captured and forwarded to a secondary party (generally a dermatologist) for review. Given the geographic size of Australia and the high incidence of dermatologic conditions such as skin cancer and skin rashes a telemedicine method for dermatologist consultation is desirable. With increased availability and reducing prices of mobile devices with integrated cameras and ubiquitous internet access there is variability with how and by whom this form of service can be accessed and provided. Image capture can be performed using a mobile phone or digital camera by a consumer, or by trained staff in pharmacies, medical centres, or hospitals. Images can be transmitted through a mobile phone or online application. The technology can also be used to query or confirm diagnosis and treatment advice between a general practitioner and a dermatologist. In Australia varying models of care already exist; video-conferencing is subsidised through the MBS, and community pharmacies offer store-and-forward consumer funded services. Greater diversity exists in trial phases both inside and outside of Australia. Increasing international and Australian literature examines the clinical and economic impact of teledermatology in varying models of care. This presentation will discuss the potential applications of teledermatology in Australia; including how it is already being used, and where it might fit into the models of care in the future.