Telederm is an online educational and specialist advice service for dermatology, setup by Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine in 2003 with Commonwealth Government funding. Here is an article written by its founding dermatologist Dr Jim Muir and ACRRM Website specialist Lex Lucas for background information
Its a fantastic service for rural and remote GPs, saves time and effort in getting dermatologic specialist advice. IN short it addresses inequity of specialist services to rural communities, helps educate and upskill rural GPs and is extremely cost efficient and accurate.
As a GP it saves me heaps of time and this saving is passed onto the patient, without sacrificing quality of care. Think about it. Dermatology is very much a visual specialty. The skin is easy to examine and easy to record with high quality digital photos and videos. The procedures used for diagnosis and treatment are not overly complex in general and within the remit of GPs. All we need is some advice most of the time to point us in the right direction.
Here is more information about TELEDERM via the Department of Health and Ageing website!
My personal testimony of utility/effectiveness of TELEDERM :
First time I used it was about 2005. I had just moved up to Far North Queensland so had no idea about tropical medicine and dermatology! I saw a patient with itchy vesicular rash who had been seen by two colleague with varying diagnoses and little response to steroid cream..sound familiar to all GPs!?
I had no idea. But I had heard of Telederm on RRMEO via ACRRM and being card carrying subscription paying member thought I would give it a go. The process was very simple to follow to post a case and submit a consented image. Within 8 hrs, Jim had posted his advice and comments and his first differential diagnosis of mango allergy was absolutely CORRECT! In rural north Queensland we have I think maybe 3-4 dermatologists to cover an area the size of the UK and a spread out population. Skin cancer is everywhere. Tropical dermatology abounds. TELEDERM gives you the edge, its free to end users and Jim is a fantastic colleague. He now has a system whereby SMS phone alerts are used to notify him and colleagues when a new case is submitted and advice is posted..awesome stuff. The patients love it. They get specialist advice and rapid quality care.
Now the government funding for TELEDERM is up for review in 2013.
THOSE OF US WANTING TO CONTINUE THIS EXCELLENT SERVICE FOR OUR RURAL AND REMOTE COMMUNITIES ARE PLANNING TO SETUP AN ONLINE PETITION AND LOBBY POLITICIANS.
WATCH THIS SPACE AND SPREAD THE WORD VIA YOUR NETWORKS!