The DDAS has provided continuity of access to dermatology services in three Scottish health boards during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Data from the health boards show that 75% of all DDAS appointments offered during the pilot period (April 2020 to March 2021) were completed by patients.
There are initial costs associated with setting up the DDAS in each health board, plus maintenance costs, such as an annual license, and a server hosting charge. Appointments on the DDAS are currently charged to the NHS nationally at £3.00 per appointment.
Small sample surveys among patients in the DDAS pilot show that patients find the service easy to use. Patient-reported benefits of the DDAS include reduced travel and less need for time off work to attend appointments.
Boards that have implemented the DDAS have reported no problems associated with recruiting older patients, children or patients with limited technological skills. All boards have alternatives in place for patients who do not wish to use the DDAS.
The planned roll out of the DDAS to additional health boards across Scotland should provide more data, with the potential for further performance and economic analyses of the service.
What were we asked to look at?
We were asked to provide a high level overview of the DDAS, which is an online asynchronous virtual dermatology clinic.
The DDAS allows patients to submit images of their skin condition, along with answers to specific questions about their skin condition, to a dermatology specialist
Why is this important?
The current gold standard for dermatology assessment is a face-to-face appointment with a dermatology specialist. The DDAS is the first asynchronous digital appointment platform for dermatology services to be integrated with NHSScotland systems. Unlike other teledermatology examples, patients upload their own photographs directly to a dermatology specialist.
The Chief Scientist Office requested SHTG to assess the DDAS.