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Dermatology Online Journal

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Teledermatology during COVID-19: a comparison of video and telephone visits with patient-uploaded images at an urban academic medical center

  • Author(s): Schroedl, Liesl M;
  • Duan, Grace Y;
  • de Luzuriaga, Arlene Ruiz
  • et al.
Abstract

The COVID-19 pandemic stimulated adoption of teledermatology via video and telephone modalities by outpatient dermatology clinics. However, it was unknown how patient-related factors may have impacted, whether video or phone visits were used, and if visit modality impacted management. Consequently, we conducted a retrospective cross-sectional study of teledermatology visits occurring between March 30, 2020 and May 30, 2020 at an urban tertiary care center. A total of 788 teledermatology visits including 525 video visits and 263 telephone visits, mostly supplemented by patient-uploaded images, were analyzed. Patient age (P<0.001) and visit type (new versus return patient status), (P<0.001) were significant predictors of likelihood of video visit. No significant difference between video and telephone visits was found with regard to frequency of treatment modification (P=0.52), frequency of biopsy referral (P=0.73), biopsy noncompliance rate (P=0.44), or proportion of biopsies showing a new malignant lesion (P=0.92). With age as a significant predictor of visit modality, maintaining both video and phone modalities could prove useful to maximize patient participation. It appears either can be used without concern that choice of modality would impair the ability to change treatment, recognize a lesion requiring biopsy, recognize a new malignant lesion, or negatively affect compliance with biopsy.

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