Arkansas Virtual Skin Cancer Screening

Arkansas Virtual Skin Cancer Screening

Chris Schach

Author Bio -

OnlineDermClinic launches first statewide smartphone Skin Cancer screening

Web-based tools developed by Arkansas dermatologists

FAYETTEVILLE, ARK. -  Dermatologists in Arkansas will offer a ground breaking technological first! A free smartphone Skin Cancer screening for an entire state.  

The Arkansas Dermatological Society has partnered with OnlineDermClinic’s DermAid Foundation to offer a statewide Skin Cancer screening for residents of Arkansas.  The Skin Cancer screening, utilizing smartphone technology provided by OnlineDermClinic, will commence on Wednesday, May 1, 2013 and conclude on Melanoma Monday, May 6, 2013. 

“We are extremely excited to pair this intuitive and powerful technology with volunteer dermatologists throughout the state of Arkansas.   This is a much needed and potentially life-saving service for a state that has many underserved rural areas.” said Dr. Sandy Johnson, President of the Arkansas Dermatological Society. 

Our best chance to save lives is by cancer prevention and early detection.  Technology like this is building bridges between doctors and patients.” Added Dr. Johnson.  

OnlineDermClinic.com and the DermAid Foundation, are the ‘brainchildren’ of social entrepreneur dermatologists Chris Schach, M.D., Kevin St. Clair, M.D. and Eric Stewart, M.D..  The project was in research and development for more than 3 years and was released in 2012. 

“The ability for dermatologists to offer dermatological care, virtually, from their home or office was the goal when we started this project.” Schach said.  He added “Store-and-forward teledermatology has a proven high concordance with in-person visits and has been shown to be 3 to 5 times more efficient.   The annual American Academy of Dermatology Free Skin Cancer Screening reported 93,000 people examined in-person by dermatologists in 2010. By using our system, these same dermatologists could screen 270,000 or more, and offer their services to the entire state where they are licensed. More people screened results in more lives saved!” 

Inspiration to create www.Onlinedermclinic.com came from concerns over current patient wait times and the increasing demand for dermatologic care.  ODC Co-founder, Eric Stewart M.D. stated, “Skin Cancer diagnosis is too often being delayed for weeks or months. A way to triage important and pressing dermatologic concerns was needed.  We sought to develop a technology to alleviate this problem.” 

Co-founder Kevin St.Clair M.D., has been involved in international medical aid for more than a decade and has been “in country” teaching dermatology to health providers.  “The lack of sustainability for medical education and care have been the most frustrating aspect of medical aid trips.  It feels great to help while you are with the people, but once you leave the level of care goes back to baseline.  With the creation of ODC and the DermAid Foundation, we now have a sustainable model.”  

Schach is quick to point out that the virtual office visit will not always replace a face-to-face visit with a physician. “But it’s a good way to start, especially if you live in a rural area far from your doctor’s office, are limited on time or want peace of mind while you wait for an appointment with your dermatologist,” he said.

OnlineDermClinic.com has other, free educational options. The DermaLearn feature is a comprehensive online research tool – basically a “diagnosis wizard” – that allows users to answer a set of questions that generate a list of potential diagnoses.

“We developed it as a first-of-its-kind web-based teaching tool for medical students and mid-level health care providers, but we feel that it’s so useful, we're sharing it with anyone who wants to use the site,” St. Clair said.

Another feature is an extensive glossary for users to browse that includes definitions of skin conditions and photos for accurate reference.

The site also features DermaTeach, a free video library of patient tutorials. “Board-certified dermatologists ‘talk’ to you about important skin-related issues – just like we do in our offices every day,” St. Clair explained. “Whether you watch instruction on topics including sun protection, Acne, Skin Cancer or Eczema, you are basically a click away from a private, virtual one-on-one tutorial from an expert.   To facilitate the sharing of medical knowledge, the  DermAid Foundation provides an online system that allows dermatologists to rapidly publish their expert advice in video or written format .”

For Dr. Stewart, the most rewarding part of the project has been its humanitarian component called DermAid. “DermAid is the first-ever humanitarian cyber consult, where we can expand this unique service worldwide. It allows participating dermatologists to travel virtually around the globe providing care to those in need,” Stewart said. “Using the technology of our system, paired with physicians who donate their time and expertise, registered aid organizations submit consultations virtually at OnlineDermClinic.com for rapid diagnosis and treatment options.”

Schach said the next step for OnlineDermClinic.com is recruiting additional board certified dermatologists nationwide for the virtual clinic and humanitarian effort. Schach said there are currently two account types available for dermatologists. The DermAid account is free for all board certified dermatologists that want to act as volunteers for U.S. Skin Cancer screenings and international aid. There is also a ‘premium’ account that allows physicians to offer fee-for-service consults to new and existing patients in their own practice.  For dermatologists, the premium account is available for $89 per month.  

“Most doctors charge their patients about $60 per virtual visit, which is often less than the co-pay to see a dermatologist in-person,” he said. “Our eventual goal is to make OnlineDermClinic.com available to all dermatologists to provide quicker access and better service for their patients.  We believe that this technology may lead to earlier diagnosis of Skin Cancer and other skin diseases.”

“We’re taking it one step at a time, but, already, we have seen such positive results that we believe this is something that will change the field of dermatology, and we are eager to see how much more we can accomplish as technology continues to improve,” he said. 

For more information about this new technology or OnlineDermClinic, please contact the ODC staff at info@onlinedermclinic.com or call 1. or toll free 1..

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