Abstract Number: 79

Implementation of telehealth service to manage rural skin cancer patients at a major tertiary hospital

P. Cantwell

Meeting: 2021 Dermcoll

Session Information

Date: -

Session Title: Poster Presentations

Session Time: -

The effectiveness of telemedicine to meaningfully manage skin lesions has been debated with varied conclusions [1]. One of the recognised barriers for telehealth service imple- mentation is the difficulty in gaining health practitioner’s acceptance [2]. Described is the successful implementation of a telehealth skin lesions service in a major tertiary hospi- tal in Western Australia. The service deals with biopsy pro- ven skin cancers, or skin lesions suspicious for malignancy which are in sensitive areas not easily biopsied. Barriers to clinician acceptance were overcome through implementa- tion of a dedicated telehealth coordinator; ensuring new referrals had a biopsy proven cancerous lesion where appropriate. After initial telehealth consultation, patients undergo operative management at the tertiary care provi- der, with subsequent follow-up via telehealth. Telehealth patients who underwent skin lesion excisions at our service in 2017 were retrospectively identified through hospital data. In 2017, 230 telehealth patients were assessed through our telehealth team for management of skin lesions. The average patient distance from specialist care was 1001 km (95% CI: 700–1302 km) and average patient age was
63 years (95% CI: 61–65 years). In total, 211 lesions were excised, 12 melanomas, 168 NMSCs (Non-melanoma Skin Cancer), and 30 benign lesions. Telehealth is a useful alter- native where specialised services are otherwise not avail- able. Reported patient benefits of telehealth assessments include convenience, less travel, shorter waiting times, lower cost, and good quality of health care [3].


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