J Drugs Dermatol. 2021 Apr 1;20(4):432-435. doi: 10.36849/JDD.2021.5688.
Telemedicine, defined as practicing medicine at a distance, has grown in popularity over the past ten years, as advances in consumer technology have permitted its expansion. Dermatology is a field that especially lends itself to this method of care, as many common dermatological diagnoses can be made upon visual inspection. With social distancing becoming the new standard in this age of COVID-19, telemedicine emerges as a key tool in continuing patient care without interruption. In this pilot study, we examine the reliability of acne vulgaris diagnostic assessments made via patient-taken photos compared to in-office assessments in patients between the ages of 16 and 23 with mild to moderate acne. Fourteen patient encounters were clinically examined for three outcomes: inflammatory lesions, noninflammatory acne lesions, and facial nodules. On the same day patient outcomes were counted and recorded in-person, patients were instructed to photograph their faces. These images were reviewed 8–12 weeks later by investigators for the same assessment. Initial findings suggest strong concordance between in-person and digital diagnosis, with a Spearman’s correlation coefficient of 0.96 across all lesion and nodule scores. These data support further research on the expansion and implementation of telemedicine for dermatology. J Drugs Dermatol. 20(4):432-435. doi:10.36849/JDD.5688.