Kennedy CHC Leads Collaborative To Improve Access to Dermatology Care

Edward M. Kennedy Community Health Center Leads Community Health Center Collaborative To Improve Access to Dermatology Care

Edward M. Kennedy Community Health Center (Kennedy CHC) led a collaboration of local community health centers (CHCs) aimed at improving access to dermatology care for low-income patients within Massachusetts.  Other participating community health centers included: Family Health Center of Worcester, Harbor Health Services, Charles River Community Health Center, Lynn Community Health Center, Manet Community Health Center, and South Boston Community Health Center.  In an effort to address the growing need and increasing wait times for dermatology appointments in the state, the CHC collaborative received grant funding from the Partnership for Community Health Excellence & Innovation, an initiative of Neighborhood Health Plan and Partners HealthCare, to pilot remote dermatology consultation and triage. 

Utilizing 3Derm Systems, Inc.’s clinical quality skin imaging systems, Kennedy CHC was able to provide eligible patients with remote consultations by a dermatologist during routine primary care appointments.  These teledermatology appointments enable appropriate prioritization of dermatology appointments, based on urgency of condition, and eliminating the unnecessary follow-ups that are currently creating reported 16-week wait times for dermatology appointments (as reported by a telephone survey of Massachusetts dermatologists conducted by 3Derm Systems, Inc.).  Across the seven community health centers participating in this initiative, 850 teledermatology consults were completed between November 2016 and May 2018, and of these consults, 50% resulted in no referral needed, representing a savings of $74,976 in dermatology-related spending. 

Through the work of Kennedy CHC and collaborating community health centers, the workflows and implementation process for teledermatology have been developed, refined, and streamlined and are able to be executed at new community health centers in approximately 5 weeks.  For more information about this case study, please visit the full write-up here