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Teledermatology for Diagnosis and Management of Skin Conditions

A Systematic Review of the Evidence

Evidence-based Synthesis Program

Principal Investigator: , MD, MS; Research Associates: , PhD, , BA, , MS, , MS, and , BS. ESP Program Director: , MD, MPH.

Washington (DC): Department of Veterans Affairs (US); .


Telemedicine uses telecommunication technology to transfer medical information. Due to the visual nature of a skin examination, telemedicine, specifically, teledermatology, may be a valuable tool in the diagnosis and management of dermatologic diseases for patients in rural areas (including rural Veterans Affairs Medical Centers and Community Based Outpatient Clinics) who may not have ready access to a dermatologist. Teledermatology may also be useful in primary care settings to triage cases and limit unnecessary dermatology clinic referrals. Although not the focus of this review, teledermatology may also be used to provide follow-up care or monitoring after an in-person dermatology visit. The objectives of this evidence synthesis project were to systematically review and summarize the scientific literature addressing: 1) teledermatology for the diagnosis of skin conditions, 2) teledermatology for the management of skin conditions, 3) clinical outcomes when teledermatology is used, 4) the cost of teledermatology compared with usual care (in-person dermatology), and 5) key elements of, and barriers to, successful teledermatology implementation.


Prepared for: Department of Veterans Affairs, Veterans Health Administration, Health Services Research & Development Service, Washington, DC 20420. Prepared by: VA Evidence Synthesis Program, Center for Chronic Disease Outcomes Research, Minneapolis VA Medical Center, Minneapolis, MN.

Suggested citation:

Warshaw E, Greer N, Hillman Y, Hagel E, MacDonald R, Rutks I and Wilt TJ. Teledermatology for Diagnosis and Management of Skin Conditions: A Systematic Review of the Evidence. VA-ESP Project #09-009; 2009

This information is distributed solely for the purposes of pre-dissemination peer review. It has not been formally disseminated by the Department of Veterans Affairs. It does not represent and should not be construed to represent a Department of Veterans Affairs determination or policy.

Financial disclosure: No investigators have any affiliations or financial involvement (e.g., employment, consultancies, honoraria, stock ownership or options, expert testimony, grants or patents received or pending, or royalties) that conflict with material presented in the report.

Bookshelf ID: NBK49157PMID: 21155201


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