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Italian Journal of Dermatology and Venereology 2021 April;156(2):198-212

DOI: 10.23736/S2784-8671.21.06731-6


language: English

Teledermatology in 2020: past, present and future perspectives

Linda TOGNETTI 1 , Diletta FIORANI 1, Filomena RUSSO 1, Laura LAZZERI 1, Emanuele TROVATO 1, Maria L. FLORI 1, Elvira MOSCARELLA 2, Elisa CINOTTI 1, Pietro RUBEGNI 1

1 Unit of Dermatology, Department of Medical, Surgical and Neurosciences, University of Siena, Siena, Italy; 2 Unit of Dermatology, Luigi Vanvitelli University of Campania, Naples, Italy

Born in 1995, teledermatology (TD) turns 25 years old today. Since then, TD evolved according to patients and physicians needs. The present review aimed to summarize all the efforts and experiences carried out in the field of TD and its subspecialties, the evolution and the future perspectives. A literature search was conducted in PubMed and Google Scholar. The state of the art of the “tele-dermo research” included TD and clinical trials, TD/TDS web platforms, TDS and artificial intelligence studies. Finally, the future perspective of TD/TDS in the era of social distancing was discussed. Using TD in specific situations adds several benefits including time-effectiveness of intervention and reduction in the waiting time for the first visit, reduced travel-costs, reduced sanitary costs, equalization of access from patient to specialistic consult. The communication technologies devices currently available can adequately support the growing needs of tele-assistance. A main limit is the current lack of a common clear European regulation for practicing TD, encompassing privacy issues and data management. The pandemic lockdown of 2020 has highlighted the importance of performing TD for all those patient, elderly and/or fragile, where the alternative would be no care at all. Many efforts are needed to develop efficient workflows and TD programs to facilitate the interplay among the different TD actors, along with practice guidelines or position statements.

KEY WORDS: Dermatology; Telemedicine; Systematic review

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