What is the teledermatology service?
Teledermatology = photos + dermatology (area of medicine that specialises in skin).
At your first appointment, photos will be taken of the areas of skin you are worried about. The photos and your medical history are then sent to a dermatologist, a doctor who specialises in skin. The dermatologist will look at your photos and review your medical information to see if you need to come into hospital.
You need to see your GP to be referred for an appointment. The referral will say which areas of skin need to be photographed.
Teledermatology isn’t right for everyone in every case. Some of the information shared by your GP will be used to make sure teledermatology is right for you.
Your appointment will be booked by the hospital. Your GP will be able to tell you which hospital will contact you. The hospital will offer you an appointment within 7 days of receiving your referral. Your appointment will be at a community diagnostic centre, hospital, or other healthcare site.
It is important to know that the person who takes the photos isn’t a doctor so they won’t be able to answer any medical questions about your skin or give you a diagnosis.
How long will my appointment take and what will happen?
Your appointment will take around 20 minutes. You will not see a doctor at this appointment.
You may be sent a form to complete before your appointment or be given a form when you arrive. You’ll be asked about your medical history and about the area of skin you’re worried about.
The person taking the photos will explain what photos are needed before they start. If you have any questions, please ask.
You may need to remove jewellery or make up. You may need to remove some of your clothing if the area of skin you’re worried about is covered by your clothes. You can bring someone with you or if you are on your own, you can ask for another staff member to be in the room with you. This person is called a chaperone.
A few different photos of the area of skin you’re worried about will be taken. Close-up photos may be taken using a special lens. This lens takes detailed, close-up photos. The lens will be pressed gently against your skin. This should not hurt.
Once all the photos needed are taken, they are saved securely and shared with the Dermatology team.
What happens after the appointment?
At the end of your appointment, you will be told what will happen next. You’ll be told when someone will contact you, how they will contact you (e.g., letter, phone call) and what to do if you don’t hear anything.
A dermatologist or specialist will look at all of the information shared by your GP in the referral, the photos taken, and any other information you shared at your appointment.
From this information, the dermatologist may:
- Discharge you back to your GP if they are not worried.
- Refer you to different type of doctor so you can be seen by them.
- Ask you to come in and see one of the dermatologists at the hospital.
- Recommend that you are booked for a procedure or treatment.
Both you and your GP will receive the information from the dermatologist.
Do I need to give permission for photographs to be taken?
When you see your GP, they will check you are happy for the area of skin your worried about to be photographed.
At your appointment, the person taking the photos will make sure you are comfortable with the photos that need to be taken and how those photos will be used.
Can I have copies of the photographs?
Yes. You will need to make a request with the hospital trust where your photographs were taken.