Objective: Assessment of a multisite rural teledermatology project between 2009 and 2012 in four Pacific Northwest states that trained primary care providers and imaging technicians in state-of-the-art techniques of telemedicine.
Materials and methods: In 2012, we assessed provider and imaging technician acceptability and satisfaction with a 32-item survey instrument based on the Patient Satisfaction Questionnaire developed by Ware et al. (Eval Program Plann 1983;6:247-63) and modified for telemedicine by Kraai et al. (J Card Fail 2011;17:684-690). Survey questions covered eight satisfaction domains: interpersonal manner, technical quality, accessibility, finances, efficacy, continuity, physical environment, and availability.
Results: Overall, 71% of the primary care providers and 94% of the imaging technicians reported being satisfied or extremely satisfied with the teledermatology project. Most (95%) providers found the continuing education classes on dermatology diagnosis and treatment topics useful, and 86% reported teledermatology was a good addition to regular patient services. Most (97%) of the imaging technicians were satisfied with the ability of teledermatology to improve the description of dermatology conditions using images of the lesions or rashes, and 91% were satisfied with the convenience of teledermatology. Challenges reported by both providers and imaging technicians include an increase in workload due to more patient visits related to dermatology care and limited information technology support.
Conclusions: Given the Veterans Health Administration's initiatives to promote accessible health care to underserved Veterans using telehealth, these findings can inform future program designs for teledermatology.