GHP Q1 2021

GHP / Q1 2021 67 , Sep20175 In Australia, out of a population of 25 million, sevenmillion live in rural areas. For these communities, access to dermatology has been tremendously difficult – but no longer. The Pioneers Behind Accessible Dermatology Dermo Direct Telehealth is an innovative and completely remote dermatology service solution. Initially, the idea was conceived to give dermatologists the ability to follow up with patients they see during outreach clinics in rural areas, but since then it has naturally developed into a stand-alone service. Dermo Direct now provides the entirety of Australia with access to dermatology, retaining its focus on providing this service for communities who have restricted access to them for whatever reason. In a decision that sets it apart from its competitors, Dermo Direct dispatched the old model of ‘store and forward’ technology. In this model, GPs would send images of the issue to external dermatologists who would then comment and give advice, sending this information back to the GP to disseminate to the patient. This is a bloated and clunky process that often results in a breakdown of communication. Dermo Direct sought to find a better solution, and arrived at teledermatology: with this methodology, it offers patients live real-time video consultations directly with the dermatologists, instead of having to use the GP as a middleman. Not only does this allow the patient to build a therapeutic relationship with their dermatologist, but it enables continuity of care, with each patient’s subsequent appointment being with the same dermatologist. Furthermore, the dermatologist has direct access to the person they’re helping. This cuts the guesswork out of diagnosis and decreases the likelihood of mistakes. With more new patients every day and serving its national community, Dermo Direct conducts its consultations out of hours and completely remotely. It has installed itself as a crucial part of the healthcare landscape in a Covid-19 world, providing a solution for patients nationwide facing more difficulties than ever in accessing in person services. Additionally, it is responsive to Medicare rebates, ensuring patients receive the best in financial savings. Alongside its unique approach, Dermo Direct stands above its competition by avoiding scheduling conflict, allowing consultations to be booked directly by the patient. In 2019, it was given the Northern Territory’s Emerging and Energised award by the Telstra Business Awards for its work – namely, for just how far its reach had spread and to how many demographics. Included in this list are nursing homes both rural and urban, Aboriginal communities, EXPATs, and prisoners. Effectively, it has truly removed all barriers to accessing dermatology in Australia, with most patients being seen within 48 hours of booking, and an urgent express appointment being available for those wanting to be seen within 24 hours. Dermo Direct didn’t stop there, however. With the advent of Covid-19 changing the healthcare infrastructure forever, Dermo Direct launched a new service called Diagnode. This is a custom Telehealth platform that allows any medical practice to perform their own online and fully remote consultations. This development was spurred on by seeing how many practices were struggling to adapt to remote practices from in person ones, and so Dermo Direct distilled and refined all its knowledge from its teledermatology service into the platform. Both intuitive and use friendly, Diagnode allows a practice to include its own landing page, as well having built-in tools for patient management, referral validity tools, management solutions, booking and paying options and automatically generated receipts. Furthermore, it is HIPAA compliant and has since empowered many practices to move into telehealth. Dermo Direct seeks to remain adept at a broad range of areas in dermatology as it must serve a wide range of people with a wide range of conditions. Furthermore, it will keep bettering itself within what is arguably the standalone field of teledermatology, a field in which it is one of the most influential voices – ‘There is a good chance that we do more teledermatology than any other dermatologists in Australia’. Moving forward into the future, it seeks to establish further service agreements with organisations supporting vulnerable populations: for example, more nursing homes, prisons and Aboriginal communities. Even with Australia being a 7.7 million square kilometre continent, it only has around 563 dermatologists. Due to that fact and with how many people live in hard-to- reach rural areas, Dermo Direct’s services are not only impressive, they are necessary. Company: Dermo Direct Telehealth Contact: Dev Tilakaratne Web: www.dermodirect.com.au www.diagnode.com.au

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