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Teledermatologic consultation and reduction in referrals to dermatologists: a cluster randomized controlled trial


Eminovic, N; de Keizer, N F; Wyatt, J C; ter Riet, G; Peek, N; van Weert, H C; Bruijnzeel-Koomen, C A (2009). Teledermatologic consultation and reduction in referrals to dermatologists: a cluster randomized controlled trial. Archives of Dermatology, 145(5):558-564.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: To determine whether teledermatologic consultations can reduce referrals to a dermatologist by general practitioners (GPs). DESIGN: Multicenter cluster randomized controlled trial. Setting and PARTICIPANTS: We recruited 85 GPs from 35 general practices in 2 regions in the Netherlands (Almere and Zeist); 5 dermatologists from 2 nonacademic hospitals were also included in the study. Interventions The GPs randomized to the intervention used a teledermatologic consultation system to confer with a dermatologist, whereas those in the control group referred their patients according to usual practice. All patients, regardless of their condition, were seen in the office by a dermatologist after approximately 1 month. OUTCOME MEASURES: The main outcome measure was the proportion of office visits prevented by teledermatologic consultation, as determined by dermatologists at approximately the 1-month office visit. The secondary outcome measure was patient satisfaction, measured using the Patient Satisfaction Questionnaire III developed by Ware et al. RESULTS: The 85 study GPs enrolled 631 patients (46 intervention GPs, 327 patients; 39 control GPs, 304 patients). The 5 dermatologists considered a consultation preventable for 39.0% of patients who received teledermatologic consultation and 18.3% of 169 control patients, a difference of 20.7% (95% confidence interval, 8.5%-32.9%). At the 1-month dermatologist visit, 20.0% of patients who received teledermatologic consultation had recovered compared with 4.1% of control patients. No significant differences in patient satisfaction were found between groups. CONCLUSIONS: Teledermatologic consultation offers the promise of reducing referrals to a dermatologist by 20.7%. Providing teledermatologic consultation by GPs with more extended knowledge of dermatology may further reduce the need for dermatologist referrals. Trial Registration Current Controlled Trials No. ISRCTN57478950.

OBJECTIVE: To determine whether teledermatologic consultations can reduce referrals to a dermatologist by general practitioners (GPs). DESIGN: Multicenter cluster randomized controlled trial. Setting and PARTICIPANTS: We recruited 85 GPs from 35 general practices in 2 regions in the Netherlands (Almere and Zeist); 5 dermatologists from 2 nonacademic hospitals were also included in the study. Interventions The GPs randomized to the intervention used a teledermatologic consultation system to confer with a dermatologist, whereas those in the control group referred their patients according to usual practice. All patients, regardless of their condition, were seen in the office by a dermatologist after approximately 1 month. OUTCOME MEASURES: The main outcome measure was the proportion of office visits prevented by teledermatologic consultation, as determined by dermatologists at approximately the 1-month office visit. The secondary outcome measure was patient satisfaction, measured using the Patient Satisfaction Questionnaire III developed by Ware et al. RESULTS: The 85 study GPs enrolled 631 patients (46 intervention GPs, 327 patients; 39 control GPs, 304 patients). The 5 dermatologists considered a consultation preventable for 39.0% of patients who received teledermatologic consultation and 18.3% of 169 control patients, a difference of 20.7% (95% confidence interval, 8.5%-32.9%). At the 1-month dermatologist visit, 20.0% of patients who received teledermatologic consultation had recovered compared with 4.1% of control patients. No significant differences in patient satisfaction were found between groups. CONCLUSIONS: Teledermatologic consultation offers the promise of reducing referrals to a dermatologist by 20.7%. Providing teledermatologic consultation by GPs with more extended knowledge of dermatology may further reduce the need for dermatologist referrals. Trial Registration Current Controlled Trials No. ISRCTN57478950.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Clinic and Policlinic for Internal Medicine
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:May 2009
Deposited On:01 Mar 2010 14:46
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 13:58
Publisher:American Medical Association
ISSN:0003-987X
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:10.1001/archdermatol.2009.44
PubMed ID:19451500
Permanent URL: http://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-31694

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