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February 1997

Teledermatology and Underserved Populations

Author Affiliations

From the Dermatology Service, Department of Medicine, Tripler Army Medical Center, Honolulu, Hawaii (Dr Norton); the Department of Dermatology and Cutaneous Surgery, University of Miami School of Medicine, Miami, Fla (Drs Burdick and Berman); and the Dermatology Service, Department of Medicine, East Carolina University School of Medicine, Greenville, NC (Dr Phillips).

Arch Dermatol. 1997;133(2):197-200. doi:10.1001/archderm.1997.03890380069010

Background:  The dermatologic needs of many communities in the United States and worldwide are underserved. Telemedicine enables physicians and nonphysician primary care providers to use modern telecommunications devices to gain access to specialist consultations promptly and with much less travel. The independently developed telemedicine programs described herein support 3 traditionally underserved populations: Pacific Islanders, migrant farmworkers, and prison inmates.

Observations:  In 3 independently designed telemedicine programs, dermatology emerged as the specialty most used by remote practitioners. Patients were presented for both diagnosis and treatment and in the setting of initial evaluation and as part of follow-up

Conclusion:  Teledermatology is a useful way to provide dermatologic support to remote or underserved communities.Arch Dermatol. 1997;133:197-200