Reliability and accuracy of dermatologists' clinic-based and digital image consultations

J. D. Whited, R. P. Hall, D. L. Simel, M. E. Foy, K. M. Stechuchak, R. J. Drugge, J. M. Grichnik, S. A. Myers, R. D. Horner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

145 Scopus citations


Background: Telemedicine technology holds great promise for dermatologic health care delivery. However, the clinical outcomes of digital image consultations (teledermatology) must be compared with traditional clinic- based consultations. Objective: Our purpose was to assess and compare the reliability and accuracy of dermatologists, diagnoses and management recommendations for clinic-based and digital image consultations. Methods: One hundred sixty-eight lesions found among 129 patients were independently examined by 2 clinic-based dermatologists and 3 different digital image dermatologist consultants. The reliability and accuracy of the examiners' diagnoses and the reliability of their management recommendations were compared. Results: Proportion agreement among clinic-based examiners for their single most likely diagnosis was 0.54 (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.46-0.61) and was 0.92 (95% CI, 0.88-0.96) when ratings included differential diagnoses. Digital image consultants provided diagnoses that were comparably reliable to the clinic-based examiners. Agreement on management recommendations was variable. Digital image and clinic-based consultants displayed similar diagnostic accuracy. Conclusion: Digital image consultations result in reliable and accurate diagnostic outcomes when compared with traditional clinic-based consultations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)693-702
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Dermatology
Issue number5 I
StatePublished - 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology


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