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Utilization of telemedicine in the U.S. military in a deployed setting.

Publication Status: Published

Sponsoring Organization: Army

Sponsoring Office:

Congressionally Mandated: No

Funding Source: Army

Release Date/Publication: November 01, 2014

Principle Investigator Status: Government

Primary DoD Data Source: Other

Secondary DoD Data Source:

Abstract

BACKGROUND: A retrospective evaluation of the Department of Defense teledermatology consultation program from 2004 to 2012 was performed, focusing on clinical application and outcome measures such as consult volume, response time, and medical evacuation status.

METHODS: A retrospective review of the teledermatology program between 2004 and 2012 was evaluated based on defined outcome measures. In addition, 658 teledermatology cases were reviewed to assess how the program was utilized by health care providers from 2011 to 2012.

RESULTS: As high as 98% of the teledermatology consults were answered within 24 hours, and 23% of consults within 1 hour. The most common final diagnoses included eczematous dermatitis, contact dermatitis, and evaluation for nonmelanoma skin cancer. The most common medications recommended included topical corticosteroids, oral antibiotics, antihistamines, and emollients. Biopsy was most commonly recommended for further evaluation. Following teleconsultation, 46 dermatologic evacuations were "avoided" as the patient was not evacuated based on the consultants' recommendation. Consultants' recommendations to the referring provider "facilitated" 41 evacuations.

CONCLUSION: Telemedicine in the U.S. military has provided valuable dermatology support to providers in remote locations by delivering appropriate and timely consultation for military service members and coalition partners. In addition to avoiding unnecessary medical evacuations, the program facilitated appropriate evacuations that may otherwise have been delayed.

Citation:

Hwang JS, Lappan CM, Sperling LC, Meyerle JH. Utilization of telemedicine in the U.S. military in a deployed setting. Mil Med. 2014 Nov;179(11):1347-53.

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