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Research Letter
December 2015

The Accuracy of Diagnosis of an Online Consultation Service Compared With Physical Consultation With a Dermatologist

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Dermatology, University Hospital Zürich, Zürich, Switzerland
  • 2Department of Clinical Telemedicine, University Hospital Zürich, Zürich, Switzerland
JAMA Dermatol. 2015;151(12):1375-1376. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2015.2537

The division of Clinical Telemedicine at University Hospital Zürich in Switzerland has run an email-based online consultation service for laymen since 1999, offering a physical consultation when deemed appropriate.1 We compared the adequacy of online diagnosis with the benchmark of an in-person dermatological consultation.

A retrospective review was performed for inquiries from June 2007 through September 2013. Paired online and physical consultations with a dermatologist after referral were included after institutional review board approval (NCT01969422). The institutional review board requested that patients be informed about a right to veto, which none exercised. Diagnoses were classified according to the dermatological diagnostic index developed by the German Dermatological Society DDG expanding the classifications of the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, Tenth Revision.2 Concordance was defined as a matching of digits of the index code, resulting in 6 groups. IBM SPSS 22 software was used for descriptive statistics, χ2, and Kendall τ. P < .05 was considered significant.