DHB Expands Virtual Skin Cancer Clinic
People concerned with growths or changes on their skin can expect quicker diagnosis through teledermatology as Waikato DHB expands its virtual skin cancer clinic with MoleMap.
The clinic proved its worth when piloted earlier this year by reducing wait times for assessment of benign and malignant skin lesions by Waikato Hospital dermatologists.
It is now a permanent service in Hamilton and Thames with plans to expand to Te Kuiti next year.
Patients are referred by their GP to the dermatology service. At the appointment a melanographer assesses and captures images of suspect skin lesions.
These images are then reviewed remotely by a dermatologist who will diagnose and plan appropriate treatment if required.
Dr Marius Rademaker, Waikato Hospital dermatologist, said that feedback from patients during the pilot was very positive.
“The clinics mean less travelling and a quicker diagnosis for patients because they do not have to wait to see a dermatologist.
“Most of the lesions we see in the clinic do not require any specific treatment so we can reassure the patient and their GP quickly.
“For those that do need treatment, we are able to advise the GP on what is required or arrange this at Waikato Hospital”
Around 800 patients with benign and malignant skin lesions are referred to Waikato Hospital’s dermatology department each year.
Those previously assessed as a ‘routine priority’ could wait up to six months for a first appointment with a dermatologist.
With the expansion of the virtual skin lesion clinic, these patients only wait six weeks for an appointment.