Telemedicine is the use of telecommunications technology to support health care at a distance. Dermatology relies on visual cues that are easily captured by imaging technologies, making it ideally suited for this care model. Advances in telecommunications technology have made it possible to deliver high-quality skin care when patient and provider are separated by both time and space. Most recently, mobile devices that connect users through cellular data networks have enabled teledermatologists to instantly communicate with primary care providers throughout the world. The availability of teledermoscopy provides an additional layer of visual information to enhance the quality of teleconsultations. Teledermatopathology has become increasingly feasible because of advances in digitization of entire microscopic slides and robot-assisted microscopy. Barriers to additional expansion of these services include underdeveloped infrastructure in remote regions, fragmented electronic medical records, and varying degrees of reimbursement. Teleconsultants also confront special legal and ethical challenges as they work toward building a global network of practicing physicians.
Keywords: Internet; smartphone; store-and-forward; teledermatology; teledermatopathology; teledermoscopy.
Copyright © 2014 American Academy of Dermatology, Inc. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.