Aim: To determine the accuracy of a video conferencing system (telemedicine) in diagnosis of dermatological disorders.
Methods: New patients referred to a dermatology clinic were initially examined by telemedicine and then by a standard face to face consultation. The diagnoses made by each type of consultation were compared and accuracy of telemedicine determined.
Results: One hundred and four patients with 135 dermatological conditions were analysed. Seventy five percent of conditions were correctly diagnosed by telemedicine. In a further 7% a differential diagnosis was made, which included the final diagnosis made face to face. In 12%, the diagnosis was incorrect using the telemedicine system, and in 3% no diagnosis was made. Four per cent of diagnoses were only made when the patient was seen face to face.
Conclusion: This preliminary study suggests that video conferencing equipment can be used with a reasonable degree of accuracy for the diagnosis of dermatological disease.