An interactive referral platform which provides real-time communication between GPs and Dermatology specialists to accelerate faster, more accurate skin abnormality diagnoses has been shortlisted for an HSJ award in the Improving Care with Technology category.
Commissioned by NHS Surrey Downs Clinical Commissioning Group with Communitas Clinics (provider) and Vantage Referral Management (vendor) the technology supports GPs in the management of skin lesions and potentially malignant moles and tumours where there is uncertainty over diagnosis. Referrals and images can be sent directly to qualified clinicians who are able to respond quickly to help GPs develop management plans for patients within primary care, avoiding longer waits and unnecessary referrals into secondary care.
The Teledermoscopy service has been rolled out across 19 practices in Surrey Downs with approximately76 referrals being made per month, above the projected figures. Clinicians using the service have reported an 89% satisfaction rate; among the patients benefitting from the service, 91% say they are satisfied with how their diagnosis and care plan were handled.
Key successes of the project include improved skin cancer outcomes, reduced wait times and cost savings by treating patients in the community. Of the total number of Teledermoscopy referrals, 10%have been escalated to an urgent suspected cancer pathway in less time than it would have taken had they been routinely referred.
Following Teledermoscopy advice, 65% of patients were successfully managed in primary care who would otherwise have had to be referred to secondary care. This represents an NHS saving of 69% for each patient and, with current waits to see a secondary care consultant averaging at 3-4 months, it allows GPs to be able to manage their own patients quickly and closer to home.
Dr Ruchika Gupta, Dermatology Clinical Lead for Surrey Downs CCG and local GP, said: “We were delighted to learn that the Teledermoscopy service has been shortlisted for this prestigious award. It is already being shared with other CCGs as an example of best practice in Dermatology diagnosis and I’m delighted to report that we recently opened the service out to under 18s, meaning more patients now have access to this innovative platform.”
The HSJ award winners will be announced at a ceremony on 22 November.
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Note to editors
Surrey Downs Clinical Commissioning Group is responsible for commissioning healthcare for over 305,000 people living in Mole Valley, Epsom and Ewell, East Elmbridge, Dorking and surrounding areas. It is made up of 31 GP practices and buys healthcare from local hospitals, community services, social care, ambulance services, mental health care and any many other services for local people. Find out more here www.surreydownsccg.nhs.uk.
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