Posted on 6 May, 2022 in


Digital image referral for suspected skin malignancy–a pilot study of 300 patients.

Referral of skin cancer patients using high-quality digital images through a secure electronic referral system (ERS) is becoming increasingly popular due to its potential benefits over conventional referral pathways. In a recent prospective study that looked at 300 patients referred by ERS, the study found that the digital image referral process reduced the interval between referral and diagnosis by 81% and referral to commencement of treatment in suspect lesions by 30%.

The study also compared diagnoses made from digital images with the diagnoses confirmed on pathology reports for lesions excised using a random selection of patients’ images and referrals. The diagnostic accuracy of this method was found to be comparable to that of patients seen in face-to-face consultations, indicating that digital image referral for skin malignancy and other cutaneous lesions is safe and effective.

Moreover, a special clinic was set up to determine the safety of the referral system for patients with lesions deemed as benign and not requiring surgery or other treatment. Results showed that the system is not only safe but also cost-effective. High levels of GP and patient satisfaction were also recorded.

Tadros A, Murdoch R, Stevenson JH. Digital image referral for suspected skin malignancy–a pilot study of 300 patients. J Plast Reconstr Aesthet Surg. 2009 Aug;62(8):1048-53. doi: 10.1016/j.bjps.2008.02.005. Epub 2008 Oct 10. PMID: 18848815.

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