Telehealth Increases Primary Care Physicians' Accurate Diagnosis of Skin Conditions

Fewer than 10% of dermatologists practice in rural areas, according to the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

That means primary care physicians (PCPs) are often relied upon to diagnose skin cancers in areas where access to dermatologists is lacking, even though multiple studies have shown most PCPs do not feel adequately prepared to diagnose and treat many skin conditions. Researchers from the University of Missouri School of Medicine conducted a two-year study of the Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes (ECHO) telehealth program in Missouri and found the program provided participating PCPs with expert recommendations that benefited nearly 84% of adult cases and 72% of pediatric cases.

"When it comes to skin cancer—which is the most common type of cancer in the United States—a timely diagnosis saves lives," said Mirna Becevic, Ph.D., assistant research professor at the MU School of Medicine. "Given the shortage of dermatologists in rural parts of the country, it is essential that we increase the