Teledermatology in the inpatient setting

Semin Cutan Med Surg. 2017 Mar;36(1):12-16. doi: 10.12788/j.sder.2017.004.


Teledermatology (TD) is a health care delivery modality that uses telecommunication technology to provide dermatologic care. It has grown to be a reliable and diagnostically accurate means of producing quality care while increasing access and reducing wait times in the outpatient setting. In the inpatient setting, TD may be an effective method to improve access to dermatologic care by remotely triaging, assisting, or providing dermatologic consultative services. For inpatient dermatology, there is the potential for TD to increase access to care in the community setting where dermatologists have full outpatient schedules. Using inpatient TD to triage conditions may be especially helpful in determining if a patient needs to be emergently/urgently seen, or if outpatient care could be appropriate. To best establish TD in the inpatient setting, certain practice guidelines should be considered to ensure the highest quality patient care. These features include Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)-consistent protocols to ensure high-quality video sessions and clinical photographs are acquired, stored, and transmitted using secure software and networks, establishing relationships with primary care teams to ensure trust in consulting advice and ensuring consistent communication regarding recommendations, and appropriate patient follow-up.

MeSH terms

  • Computer Security
  • Confidentiality
  • Dermatology / education
  • Dermatology / organization & administration*
  • Health Services Accessibility*
  • Hospital Medicine / education
  • Hospital Medicine / organization & administration*
  • Hospitals*
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency
  • Liability, Legal
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Referral and Consultation
  • Reimbursement Mechanisms
  • Skin Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Skin Diseases / therapy
  • Telemedicine / organization & administration*