Teledermatology pilot at Barts Health leads to reduction in skin cancer waiting list

Barts Health NHS Trust has shared the results of a teledermatology pilot which has led to around 94 percent of people with suspected skin cancer being seen within two weeks at Whipps Cross Hospital, an increase from an average of 62 percent in 2022.

Through the pilot, patients deemed to be lower risk are seen by the medical photography team for their first appointment to have photos of skin lesions taken and reviewed by senior registrar, with consultant review for all images. Next steps for patients are decided depending on the results of the review, with this method allowing the dermatology team to prioritise higher risk patients requiring a face-to-face assessment.

The trust reports that this pathway has opened up an additional 50 to 60 slots per week, with the waiting list for suspected skin cancers dropping as a result.

As a result of the pilot’s success to date, Barts has received an offer of funding from the Cancer Alliance has offered for two new admin roles as well as a medical photographer.

Dermatology service manager Emma Richards comments: “Given the increasing demand on our service, we’re always looking to innovate and improve efficiency and quality. We knew about a successful teledermatology initiative implemented at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, that we decided to adopt to see whether we saw similar improvements.”

In other news around teledermatology, we recently covered the news that Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust will be offering dermatology services remotely to patients across community hospitals in Cornwall.

In November, we also reported on NHS England’s roadmap designed to support and accelerate the roll-out of teledermatology, which sets out “practical steps” that systems can take to ensure implementation of a “efficient, safe and effective” teletermatology service.

From Barts Health, we shared news of an interactive workshop held on the “hospital of the future” which saw staff from across the organisation come together to discuss transformation of the service.