Teledermatology in rural, underserved, and isolated environments: A review
Ahuja S, Briggs SM, Collier SM. Teledermatology in Rural, Underserved, and Isolated Environments: A Review [published online ahead of print, 2022 Oct 20]. Curr Dermatol Rep. 2022;1-8. doi:10.1007/s13671-022-00377-2
Purpose of review: Summarize the current evidence for teledermatology in rural, underserved, and isolated environments including its use during the current COVID-19 pandemic.
Recent findings: Teledermatology is a reliable and cost-effective tool that can reduce face-to-face visits and improve the timeliness of care for medically underserved populations. Recent studies have shown many additional benefits of teledermatology, including improving patients' health outcomes and increasing local providers' knowledge of dermatologic conditions. Despite these benefits, many low-income and rural populations lack access to digital technology and high-speed internet, limiting the reach of telemedical services.
Summary: Overall, barriers in access to care are unique across the globe, and thus teledermatology interventions should address and adapt to the needs of the local patient population. Certain strategies, such as implementing simple, SF models, using standardized TD consult templets, and providing real-time information technology support could potentially mitigate disparities and improve the effectiveness of TD programs in underserved areas.