State of teledermatology programs in the United States

American Academy of Dermatology, Washington, DC
Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology (Impact Factor: 4.45). 03/2012; 67(5):939-44. DOI: 10.1016/j.jaad.2012.02.019
Source: PubMed


Teledermatology programs in the United States have evolved over the past several decades. No systematic survey of teledermatology programs in the United States is available in peer-reviewed literature.
To provide up-to-date information regarding the state of teledermatology programs in the United States.
Active U.S. teledermatology programs were surveyed in 2011 with regards to practice models, clinical volume, and payment methods. These findings were compared with those from 2003.
By January 2012, 37 teledermatology programs were active in the United States. Store-and-forward teledermatology was the most frequent delivery modality offered by 30 (81%) of the programs. The majority of the programs were based at academic institutions (49%), followed by Veterans Administration hospitals (27%), private practice (16%), and health maintenance organizations (HMOs) (8%). The majority of programs (67%) provided services to their home state only, whereas the rest also served additional U.S. states or abroad. The median number of consultations per program was 309 (range, 5-6500) in 2011. The most frequent payer sources were private payers, followed by self-pay, Medicaid, Medicare, and HMOs. Since 2003, with the confirmed discontinuation of 24 previously active programs, the total number of active teledermatology programs in 2011 was 60% of that in 2003. However, the annual consult volume per program nearly doubled for the sustainable programs in 2011.
Itemized billing information was not uniformly available from all programs.
The turnover in teledermatology programs is relatively constant, with an increase in consult volume for sustainable programs. Store-and-forward is the dominant modality of delivery, while hybrid technology model is emerging.

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