MOH Holdings Pte Ltd (MOHH)1, Singapore General Hospital2
Teledermatology (TD) emerged as a crucial way of continuing care remotely in the COVID-19 pandemic. We conducted a systematic review to assess how TD has been delivered in various countries worldwide during the pandemic.
We searched PubMed, SCOPUS, EMBASE, Web of Science and Google Scholar for original articles and review articles written in English and published from 1st December 2019 to 15th October 2020. We used the keywords “teledermatology” in combination with “COVID-19”, “2019-nCOV”, “SARS-COV-2”, “coronavirus”, “severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus”, “human coronavirus 2019” and “hCoV-19”.
27 studies reporting the use of TD for patient care were included, involving a total of 16,981 patients worldwide. There was significant uptake of TD during the pandemic. Synchronous TD appeared to be more commonly implemented than asynchronous TD. Common ambulatory dermatoses such as acne or eczema were reported to be more amenable to TD assessment and management. TD also appeared to be useful for the diagnosis of cutaneous involvement of COVID-19 infection and follow-up of stable onco-dermatology cases. TD consultations did not allow clinicians the opportunity to palpate lesions or conduct procedures.
TD is a useful and convenient tool for the remote assessment, diagnosis and management of common ambulatory dermatoses during the pandemic. Pooled analysis of all relevant outcomes was not always possible due to the heterogeneity in methodologies of included studies. The findings from this study would be useful for optimising TD services in view of the global resurgence of COVID-19 cases.