Correlation Between Face-to-Face Assessment and Telemedicine for the Diagnosis of Skin Disease in Case Conferences.

Actas Dermosifiliogr. 2012 Mar;103(2):138-143. Ríos-Yuil JM. Servicio de Dermatología, Complejo Hospitalario Dr. Arnulfo Arias Madrid, Caja de Seguro Social, Ciudad de Panamá, República de Panamá, España.

BACKGROUND: In Panama, weekly case conferences are held in which all dermatologists from throughout the country agree on a second opinion for the diagnosis of complicated cases. Unfortunately, patients from the interior of the country may have difficulty attending these case conferences. An alternative in such situations is the use of telemedicine. To date, however, no studies have been undertaken on the effectiveness of this approach in Panama. The aim of this study was to assess the degree of correlation between the diagnoses obtained in case conferences involving face-to-face examination and those involving telemedicine.

MATERIAL AND METHOD: A quasi-experimental nonblinded analysis of correlation was carried out in which dermatologists were randomly assigned to 2 groups: face-to-face examination and telemedicine. Both groups were asked to assess 30 cases and the degree of correlation (Cohen κ coefficient) between the diagnoses made by each group was assessed.

RESULTS: The patient group included 19 women (63.3%) and 9 patients (30%) were aged between 50 and 59 years. There was a good correlation (κ=0.6512) between the results of teledermatology and face-to-face examination. Significant differences in the diagnostic skills of the 2 groups were ruled out.

CONCLUSIONS: Teledermatology can be used effectively to facilitate diagnosis in case conferences involving patients who cannot attend in person (gold standard).

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