The Growth of Teledermatology: Expanding to Reach the Underserved

J Am Acad Dermatol. 2020 Apr;82(4):1025-1033. doi: 10.1016/j.jaad.2019.11.055. Epub 2019 Dec 4.


The regulation of telemedicine in the United States is evolving, with new legislation expanding reimbursement and cross-state licensing capabilities. As telemedicine grows, communities with limited access to traditional dermatologic care may find a solution in teledermatology. A search of the medical literature and online health care law resources published within the past decade was performed to assess the current status of telemedicine availability, health record integration and security, reimbursement policy, and licensure requirements in the United States, with a focus on teledermatology. The majority of states have implemented policies requiring private insurance coverage. Medicaid reimburses some form of telemedicine in all states but restricts which modalities can be used and by which specialties. Medicare places the heaviest limitations on telemedicine coverage. Twenty-four states and Guam are members of the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact (IMLC), and 27 states offer alternative cross-state practice options. With the advent of publicly and privately funded programs, volunteer efforts, and mobile applications, teledermatology is more readily available to rural and underserved communities.

Keywords: IMLC; Interstate Medical Licensure Compact; Medicaid; Medicare; cross-state licensing; dermatology; live video; parity; private payer; reimbursement; rural; store-and-forward; teledermatology; telehealth; telemedicine; underserved.