Dermatology takes a major aspect in family medicine practice. Many patients present with a skin condition at the physician visit. While most cases might be easy to diagnose and treat, the dermatological knowledge of many family physicians is insufficient, causing too many referrals and incorrect management. Furthermore, waiting time for dermatology consultations is very long in Israel.
Pinpointing the mentioned needs above, brought us to create in 2018, a WhatsApp group devoted solely to dermatology consultations from our practices. The group members consist of Dr. Zamir, A dedicated senior dermatology specialist, and nowadays, more than 350 residents and specialists. There are strict rules regarding patient privacy, informed consent, responsibility of management and manners.
The group aims to consult clinical cases and share knowledge in dermatology, to learn and gain better experience, and to help family physicians reach the right diagnosis and provide the needed treatment in real time.
During 5 years of activity, there were more than 1000 consultations, among them 70% resulted in a final diagnosis, most of them ended at the family physician primary care with no need for further referral. We counted more than 100 different diseases, representing the rich variety of skin conditions family physician encounter in their practice and feel they need to consult about. The diagnoses range from common lesions as Insect bites to rare syndromes as Sweet Syndrome.
WhatsApp Dermatology group is a powerful and efficient teaching tool when used correctly. It promotes physician's empowerment via medical education and thus allowing better case management - reducing unnecessary referrals and allowing patients to get better medical care in shorter time. In the presentation we will provide some interesting examples from our group to demonstrate the benefits of this simple tool.
Points for discussion:
• Medical education: How to assimilate the knowledge accumulated in the WhatsApp group to Family medicine teaching program?
• Bioethics: How to cope with challenges regarding medical confidentiality arising from using teledermatology?
• Medicolegal: How to use teledermatology consultation in a responsible manner?