1. North America: the leading driver of teledermatology services worldwide
The North American market has been the one exhibiting the major growth of teledermatology services with a total of 32% of the global shared values.2 The economic power behind this trend has paved the way to a greater acquisition initiative in modern dermatology practices. Doctors are investing in the technology to better serve their patients through online services and profit from the advantages of connectivity.
With an overall increase in 960% in telemedicine services in the United States alone, teledermatology is expected to become an increasingly common practice.3 Active development of this approach has come as an alternative to traditional in-clinic consultations. Indeed, from a economic standpoint it has also permitted doctors to broaden their revenue streams. Following the SaaS model, modern dermatology software such as DermEngine are ideal examples of the potency of teledermatology services. The dedicated features in these dermatology software represent how the appropriate use of technology can be put to the service of doctors and patients to support them in every step of the dermatology practice with no in-person interaction.
Various studies have shown teledermatology to be a popular technique among patients. The degree of satisfaction with its use is reflected in the 97% positive responses in a survey conducted among regular users of the service. Similarly, 93% of them declared to have felt at comfort throughout the procedure involved in this type of consultation.4
Adding to the above, the online nature of this practice can have a double impact on its implementation and continuous market development. On one hand, it gives the advantage to serve a much broader spectrum of patients since there is no need for physical interaction. This helps to save time and logistic inconveniences associated with the interruption of routine activities in a patient's day, as it normally happens for in-person consultations. On the other hand, teledermatology services have been shown to be highly accurate when it comes to follow up referrals. This is connected to the precision of the features present in dermatology software enabling dermatologists to effectively rely on the collected data to provide the right diagnosis. In other words, how precise these systems can be to handle patients that necessarily need to see a professional in person. As is the case, skin lesions may need to undergo revision by various specialists such as dermatologists, oncologists and surgeons. Despite the concern surrounding this topic, empirical results show that dermatology software supporting teledermatology practices provide the tools for doctors to be highly accurate when having to refer a patient to secondary care. Studies have found that very few patients that were referred for a regular in-clinic consultation were indeed diagnosed with any malignant lesion, proving the reliability of the service.4
Teledermatology expansion is expected to produce a compound annual growth rate in the next 6 years amounting to 8.7%, with a market total worth of USD 8.6 billions at the end of the period.2 It is forecasted that the combination of patient satisfaction and the continuous development of telecommunication services will remain the driving force behind such rapid expansion. However, there is one other aspect that is turning this approach into a preferred one: cost reduction due to the absence of doctor-patient personal interaction. Depending on the initial teledermatology services implementation costs, studies show a net saving of around 30% in total operative expenses, which make it an attractive option for many doctors looking to reach more patients through an accessible and reliable method.4
The growth of teledermatology is setting a trend in the global healthcare market and is expected to have a steep increase as projected for 2024.2 The combination of patient satisfaction, accurate referrals and cost-effectiveness of the practice is driving the development of this highly precise and useful service for both doctors and patients. The advancements being brought by modern cloud-based dermatology software are keeping the pace of a solid expansion of this technique, that is helping serve many more patients than would otherwise be possible to connect to life-saving dermatology consultations.
-The MetaOptima Team
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