Reducing patient backlogs with teledermatology
- Dermatology review waitlists reduced from 560 to two days
- 40% reduction in two-week wait referrals sent to secondary care
- 40% of overall referrals managed outside of secondary care
Routine dermatology waiting lists at Frimley Integrated Care Board’s (ICB) local Trust stretched beyond 80 weeks, posing difficulties in delivering effective clinical care and increasing patient anxiety. The Trust was eager to find inventive and alternative solutions to tackle the growing backlog.
Why Acacium Group
As experts in integrating acute, community and virtual services Xyla Elective Care, part of Acacium Group, is well placed to protect the quality of patient care through their teledermatology service. A pioneering virtual service with proven success in NHS trusts across the UK, Frimley ICB were eager to benefit from a streamlined approach enabled by technology and innovative working methods.
Xyla Elective Care’s teledermatology service is a digital solution aligned with British Association of Dermatologists guidelines. It virtually triages, diagnoses, monitors, and evaluates skin conditions.
Collaborating with Frimley ICB, a customised approach was introduced to enable GPs to refer patients, whether with or without dermatoscopic images. Acacium Group provided a medical photography clinic, offering photo access within 48 hours for higher-risk patients or up to 10 days for routine cases.
After uploading, Acacium Group’s consultant teledermatologists remotely reviewed the images and referrals. If additional treatment was needed, the consultant would refer the patient to the Trust, ensuring they received prompt and appropriate care. In most cases, patients were directed back to their GPs with a Primary Care Management Plan, effectively optimising resource usage.
Enhanced patient experience
Patients enjoyed greater convenience, quicker diagnoses, and accelerated treatment, as in-person appointments were no longer necessary. The reduction of wait times from 560 to two days significantly improved patient flow, alleviating anxiety and even saving lives in certain cases.
Increased acute capacity
The introduction of teledermatology allowed the Trust to proactively treat patients within the community whenever feasible, resulting in a 40% reduction in two-week wait referrals sent to secondary care.
Primary care support and guidance
Acacium Group’s teledermatology service provided specialist management plans for primary care, offering guidance and advice for referrals. This support facilitated the management of 40% of all referrals outside of secondary care.
“I’ve just opened case 239. This lesion has been referred as urgent. It is actually a high-risk, nodular melanoma. Once a melanoma starts to get to this thickness, survival rates start to fall quickly, and any delays to treatment start to have more of an impact. If this patient had been sent to the hospital as the GP requested, it may have taken months to be seen. As we have photos for assessment, the case can be upgraded and will now be seen and given initial treatment within two weeks – this could make all the difference to the patient’s outcome.”
Drive capacity through virtual service innovations
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