Skin problems account for about 25% of all visits to primary care physicians. For many of these visits, the patient and physician would benefit from a consultation with a dermatologist, but the current shortage and geographic maldistribution of dermatologists often prevents or delays these necessary consultations.
To address this problem Direct Dermatology offers a web-based, HIPAA-compliant technology platform that enables same-day and next-day consultations by US board-certified dermatologists. Using a store-and-forward telemedicine model, referring providers receive assistance with the diagnosis and management of skin diseases. Today Direct Dermatology contracts with more than 40 clinical sites and performs more than 300 consults per month, many of which are for rural and community clinic providers and patients.
In the video below, Dr. David Eibling, medical director at Health Plan of San Joaquin, discusses the need for telehealth solutions such as Direct Dermatology.
To use the service, clinics need only a digital camera, computer, and Internet connection. Patients can use Direct Dermatology services by visiting their primary care provider or by uploading images to the Direct Dermatology platform. In both cases patients receive a diagnosis and a prescription if needed.
In November 2011, CHCF made a seed investment of $240,000 in Direct Dermatology. In December 2012, CHCF invested an additional $500,000 to help the company provide greater access to teledermatology services throughout the state.
CHCF invested in Direct Dermatology because of the company’s impact and growth performance to date, and because the foundation sees enormous potential for telehealth solutions to improve access to and quality of medical care for patients in traditionally underserved areas of California.
To learn more, visit the Direct Dermatology website through the External Link below.