This page provides information on the Teledermatology service and what you can expect when you come to Northampton General Hospital.
What is Teledermatology?
Teledermatology is the use of special camera equipment to take photographs of your skin lesion. Your photographs will be reviewed by a Dermatologist (Skin Specialist) and they will decide on any further treatment if required.
Why have you been referred to the Teledermatology service?
The service allows your skin lesion(s) to be assessed more quickly and efficiently. If you need to be seen by a Dermatologist in person, we can make sure you are seen in the most appropriate clinic.
Who is this service suitable for?
This service is suitable if you:
- Have 1-3 lesions that need assessment.
- Can understand the instructions and are able to sign a consent form.
- Can attend your appointment in the next 5 days.
This service is not suitable if:
- You are under 16 years old.
- Have more than three lesions that need assessment.
- You need a full skin examination.
- The lesion(s) that need checking are on your genitals.
- Another Dermatologist has asked us to see you for a second opinion.
- You cannot identify the location of the lesion(s) or complete the paperwork.
- You have had an organ transplant, or your immune system is supressed or lowered.
If this service is not suitable for you, please ask your GP to document this on the referral form so the hospital can provide you with an alternative appointment.
What are the benefits of this service?
- A quicker understanding of the cause of your skin concern.
- A quicker referral to the correct clinic for a follow-up appointment if needed.
What happens at my first appointment?
After booking in at reception you will see a nurse specialist who will take a complete history about the lesion(s), discuss the next steps and answer any questions you may have. The nurse will help you fill in a short questionnaire and obtain your written consent for the service and medical photographs. The nurse will escort you to have the photographs taken of your lesion(s) by one of the Medical Photography team.
The hospital usually takes several photographs of each lesion:
- A wide-shot (to show the location on the body)
- Multiple close-up photographs (to show some detail)
- A dermoscopic photo through a lens placed on your skin (to show in-depth detail)
After the photographs have been taken, you can leave the hospital.
Please note that:
- We will only assess the specific lesion(s) that you were referred for
- You will not have a face-to-face consultation with a doctor at this appointment
The photographs and any other documentation will be securely stored digitally in the Trust imaging and patient information software, along with the referral letter from your GP and your consent form.
What happens after my appointment?
The information will be assessed by a Dermatologist who will carefully review your photographs, the completed questionnaire and the referral letter from your GP.
One of the following outcomes is possible:
- Discharge from the clinic because there is nothing to worry about
- A clinic appointment to see a Dermatologist in person
- A minor surgery appointment if the lesion needs removal. Consent for the procedure will be taken on the day.
- Referral to a different clinic if the lesion needs removing by a specialist surgeon (Plastic Surgeon or Oro-Maxillofacial Surgeon)
- A routine follow-up appointment (usually within three months). You will be contacted and offered an appointment.
The doctor who reviews your photographs will write to you and your GP with the management plan so you are always kept up to date with what is happening with you. This will usually be within 10 -14 days after the first appointment with the nurse specialist.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
No. The photographs are high quality and taken by the Trusts Medical photography team. If the Dermatologist needs to see more details they will ask to see you in a face-to-face consultation quickly.
You will receive a copy of the Dermatologist’s letter, which will explain what action, if any, needs to be taken next. The actions may include:
- If you need to be seen face-to-face in the appropriate clinic, we will contact you to offer an appointment.
- If you do not need to be seen in hospital but will be managed by your GP, this will be clearly documented in the letter. In this case, it is important that you contact your GP to make an appointment, so any treatment can be started.
- If there is no further action needed you will be discharged back to your GP. You only need to go back and see your GP if you are still worried about your skin problem.
- In some cases, the Dermatologist may arrange for a prescription which will be available for you to collect from your GP surgery within a week from the letter telling you about this.
Yes, this service is safe. It is already provided in many areas of the country. It is an excellent way of seeing patients quickly whilst providing good quality of care.
Provide your feedback
We are always looking for ways to improve the service and care we provide our patients. Please help us by completing a short patient feedback questionnaire relating to your Teledermatology service experience.
Telephone: 01604 544055
Dermatology Nurses: 01604 544916
Skin Cancer Specialist Nurse: 01604 545215
Patient Advice & Liaison Services (PALS)
Telephone: 01604 545784