Anais Brasileiros de Dermatologia
On-line version ISSN 1806-4841
D' ELIA, Paula Berenhauser et al. Agreement between dermatological diagnoses made by direct observation and digital images. An. Bras. Dermatol. [online]. 2007, vol.82, n.6, pp.521-527. ISSN 1806-4841. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0365-05962007000600004.
BACKGROUND - Teledermatology is the use of telecommunications technology to provide care of skin lesions at distance. OBJECTIVE - To evaluate agreement between diagnoses of skin lesion made by direct observation and at distance. METHODS - Patients consecutively referred (n=100) to a dermatology service were divided into 2 groups: group 1 comprising patients (n=20) directly and independently examined by 2 dermatologists; and group 2 included patients whose history was taken and lesions were digitally photographed before diagnosis by direct observation. The history and images were sent to another dermatologist for diagnosis at distance. Agreement between diagnoses made by direct observation and at distance was evaluated using the Kappa test. RESULTS - Good agreement was achieved between 2 dermatologists both making diagnoses by direct observation; Kappa=0.91 (n=20). Agreement between diagnoses made by direct observation of lesions and those made using images of the same lesions was lower; Kappa=0.66 (n=80). Teledermatology worked best with skin conditions classified as infectious/ infestations (Kappa=0.71) and disorders of skin appendages (Kappa=0.69). CONCLUSIONS - The direct observation/distance image diagnostic agreement was lower than that direct observation/direct observation diagnostic agreement. Based on these findings we believe teledermatology will not replace direct observation but may serve as a screening tool, therefore reducing referral and waiting list time for appointments.
Keywords : Dermatology; Primary health care; Telemedicine.