Smartphones Enable Teledermatology in South Dakota: An Overview and Primer for Primary Care Providers

S D Med. 2015 Oct;68(10):449-53, 455.


Timely access to specialty care by dermatologists is a significant problem in South Dakota. This is especially germane to patients in rural areas, the elderly, and those with socioeconomic barriers. Implementation of a modality utilizing smartphone technology called mobile teledermatology (MTD) should improve access to dermatologic care. MTD provides location- and time-independent dermatologic care and is currently being used successfully across the U.S. MTD has the potential to benefit both patients and providers in South Dakota; however, barriers to its implementation currently exist. Expanding insurance coverage and reimbursement for teledermatology, facilitating multi-state telemedicine licensure, and educating primary care providers and patients about teledermatology would facilitate widespread utilization of teledermatology in South Dakota. Current legislation addressing licensure may soon come to fruition, making it easier for dermatologists to practice teledermatology across state lines. In addition to pay-for-service, Medicaid is currently the only insurer in South Dakota that reimburses for store-and-forward teledermatology. We propose MTD as an apt solution for enabling prompt access to dermatologic care in South Dakota and emphasize the need for greater insurance coverage, improved licensure policy, and user education to fully realize the benefits of this technology for our patients.

MeSH terms

  • Dermatology / instrumentation
  • Dermatology / methods*
  • Humans
  • Primary Health Care / methods*
  • Remote Consultation / instrumentation
  • Remote Consultation / methods*
  • Rural Health Services*
  • Smartphone*
  • South Dakota