skip to page content
Talk to the Veterans Crisis Line now
U.S. flag
An official website of the United States government

Health Systems Research

Go to the VA ORD website
Go to the QUERI website

HSR&D Citation Abstract

Search | Search by Center | Search by Source | Keywords in Title

Accuracy of teledermatology for nonpigmented neoplasms.

Warshaw EM, Lederle FA, Grill JP, Gravely AA, Bangerter AK, Fortier LA, Bohjanen KA, Chen K, Lee PK, Rabinovitz HS, Johr RH, Kaye VN, Bowers S, Wenner R, Askari SK, Kedrowski DA, Nelson DB. Accuracy of teledermatology for nonpigmented neoplasms. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. 2009 Apr 1; 60(4):579-88.

Related HSR&D Project(s)

Dimensions for VA is a web-based tool available to VA staff that enables detailed searches of published research and research projects.

If you have VA-Intranet access, click here for more information

VA staff not currently on the VA network can access Dimensions by registering for an account using their VA email address.
   Search Dimensions for VA for this citation
* Don't have VA-internal network access or a VA email address? Try searching the free-to-the-public version of Dimensions


BACKGROUND: Studies of teledermatology utilizing the standard reference of histopathology are lacking. OBJECTIVE: To compare accuracy of store-and-forward teledermatology for non-pigmented neoplasms with in-person dermatology. METHODS: This study was a repeated-measures equivalence trial involving veterans with non-pigmented skin neoplasms. Each lesion was evaluated by an in-person dermatologist and a teledermatologist; both generated a primary diagnosis, up to two differential diagnoses, and management plan. The primary outcome was aggregated diagnostic accuracy (percent correct matches of any chosen diagnosis with histopathology). Secondary outcomes included management plan accuracy (percent correct matches with expert panel management plan). Additional analyses included evaluation of the incremental effect of using polarized light dermatoscopy in addition to standard macro images, and evaluating benign and malignant lesion subgroups separately. RESULTS: Most of the 728 participants were male (97.8%) and Caucasian (98.9%). The aggregated diagnostic accuracy (primary outcome) of teledermatology (macro images) was not equivalent (95% confidence interval [CI] for difference within +/-10%) and was inferior (95% CI lower bound < 10%) to in-person dermatology for all lesions and the subgroups of benign and malignant lesions. However, management plan accuracy was equivalent. Teledermatology aggregated diagnostic accuracy using polarized light dermatoscopy was significantly better than for macro images alone (P = .0017). The addition of polarized light dermatoscopy showed the same pattern for malignant lesions, but not for benign lesions. Most interestingly, for malignant lesions, the addition of polarized light dermatoscopy yielded equivalent aggregated diagnostic accuracy rates. LIMITATIONS: Non-diverse study population. CONCLUSIONS: Using macro images, the diagnostic accuracy of teledermatology was inferior to in-person dermatology, but accuracy of management plans was equivalent. The addition of polarized light dermatoscopy yielded significantly better aggregated diagnostic accuracy, but management plan accuracy was not significantly improved. For the important subgroup of malignant lesions, the addition of polarized light dermatoscopy yielded equivalent diagnostic accuracy between teledermatologists and clinic dermatologists.

Questions about the HSR website? Email the Web Team

Any health information on this website is strictly for informational purposes and is not intended as medical advice. It should not be used to diagnose or treat any condition.