Analysis Reveals Pre- and Post-COVID-19 Teledermatology Usage and Barriers


Early adopters experimented with more platforms and technologies, positioning them for the post-COVID environment.

Dermatologists have increasingly turned to teledermatology to enhance patient care, but a recent study highlights crucial disparities in platform usage and functionality among practitioners.

Researchers used cross-sectional pre-validated survey in 2021 and sought to discern variations in teledermatology practices among actively practicing dermatologists. The study focused on the timepoints at which dermatologists adopted teledermatology concerning the COVID-19 pandemic, the platforms they used, reported functionalities, and barriers to implementation.

According to the study results, early adopters (EAs) experimented with significantly more platforms (2.3 vs. 1.9, P=0.02) before settling on their current choice compared to post-COVID adopters (CAs). Moreover, EAs were more likely to use platforms capable of uploading images, requiring a mobile application, and allowing staff to join patient encounters Despite the overall positive reception of teledermatology, the study identified image quality as a predominant barrier to implementation. CAs and non-adaptors were notably more likely to consider poor image quality as their largest impediment to teledermatology.

The study's retrospective nature and the potential for response bias were cited as limitations.

"Dermatologists' use of teledermatology materially correlates with their teledermatology-adoption timepoint, and future usage may be materially impacted by the end of the COVID-19 public health emergency," the authors wrote. "Future studies should aim at how implementation and barriers to teledermatology usage may impact access to care."

Source: Marson J, Chen R, Ahmad M, et al. J Drugs Dermatol. 2024;23(2): doi:10.36849/JDD.7819e

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