Digital health services are rapidly gaining acceptance in healthcare systems. Dermatology as an image-centric specialty is particularly well suited for telemedical services. However, dermatology patients' demands of electronic services remain largely unexplored.
This study investigated patients' views in primary, secondary, and tertiary referral centers. In August 2017, 841 questionnaires were filled in by dermatology patients.
76.34% expressed interest in using digital healthcare services as part of medical consultations. 84.41% of all patients would complete their initial registration form electronically. Fewer patients were comfortable with sending pictures of skin changes to their doctors using email (40.89%) or mobile health applications (40.61%). Specific interest was indicated for arranging appointments online (90.80%) and electronically-placed prescriptions (76.56%), rather than online learning videos (42.03%), and actual online consultations (34.53%). 65.37% of patients would pay for online consultations themselves.
Taken together, interest in electronic health services is high in dermatology patients. Our data suggest that readily understandable electronic services such as online-arranged appointments and electronic prescriptions are of higher interest to patients than the current type of online consultations. Therefore, the full potential of teledermatology still remains to be tapped by newer, more attractive forms of services closely adapted to patients' demands.