Telemedicine can support high quality skin cancer diagnostics

For people who are worried about a skin lesion, waiting times to the see the GP or skin cancer specialist can be long, and involve a trip to the GP surgery or local hospital. Recent developments in telemedicine mean that clinical photographs of suspicious skin lesions can be taken in the community and then reported online by skin cancer specialists. A recent announcement by Boots to offer a £35 mole check by an in-store pharmacist, with scans sent for specialist reporting, has recently been questioned by GPs and patient support groups. At SkinHealth UK, part of the Check4Cancer group of companies, we have many years of experience in telemedicine for skin cancer screening and diagnosis. By only using specialist skin cancer nurses to do the initial assessment, we feel that our clients are being seen by an appropriately qualified healthcare practitioner, and receiving the same level of service available in secondary care. Our dedicated team of skin cancer specialists has now reported well over 20,000 images via our online system, and they provide high quality reports that lesion by lesion are documented in pictorial form with triage reporting and onward referral to NHS via GP, or to our private network of skin cancer specialists. An essential part of this approach is the ability to audit the screening or diagnostic pathway to ensure that all clients or patients receive the best possible outcome. The use of telemedicine will become increasingly important in a variety of healthcare scenarios. Cancer screening and cancer diagnostics however, should be delivered by highly trained cancer specialists if we are to reduce the number of preventable cases of cancer in the UK. Prof Gordon Wishart, Chief Medical Officer at Check4Cancer