Economic evaluation of a store-and-forward teledermatology system for skin cancer patients.

J Telemed Telecare 2009 ;15(1):40-5

Dermatology Department, Hospital Universitario Virgen Macarena, Seville, Spain.

We conducted an economic analysis of a store-and-forward teledermatology system for the routine triage of skin cancer patients. A cost-identification, cost-effectiveness and sensitivity analysis under a societal perspective was used to compare teledermatology with the conventional care alternative. In the period March 2004 to July 2005, a total of 2009 teledermatology referrals were managed from 12 Primary Care Centres (PCCs) of the public health system. The unit cost was of Euro 79.78 per patient in teledermatology, and Euro 129.37 per patient in conventional care (P < 0.005), with an incremental cost of Euro 49.59 per patient in favour of teledermatology. The cost ratio between teledermatology and conventional care was 1.6. There was a significant inverse relation between the unit cost in each participating PCC and the number of teleconsultations transmitted from them (P < 0.001). Teledermatology resulted in a more cost-effective, or dominant, methodology. In a public health system equipped with an intranet, the routine use of teledermatology in skin cancer clinics is a cost-effective method of managing referrals.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1258/jtt.2008.080901DOI Listing
April 2009
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