With UK skin cancer cases at an all time high - and pressure on services exacerbating record wait times - it’s never been more important to streamline dermatology referrals. Not only can this unlock vital capacity across primary and secondary care, it is essential for enabling faster access to treatment for patients in urgent need of treatment.
Teledermatology has a key role to play. By providing the foundation for faster, secure cross-service collaboration, it can support services to safely and effectively streamline the referral process and reduce growing wait times.
At Cinapsis, we’re helping to put this into practice. Through our partnership with North Norfolk Primary Care, we’ve helped dramatically streamline skin cancer referrals to support wider elective recovery goals. Across the 86 practices using our advice and guidance platform for dermatology in the region, the number of unnecessary referrals has fallen by almost 80%.
These cases were instead handled within primary care, allowing those in need of specialist care to be seen sooner, while reducing the admin burden of repeated appointments and referral paperwork on the region’s primary care clinicians.
How it works
Using the Cinapsis app, GPs across Norfolk are able to directly contact consultants at their local hospital for advice and guidance when reviewing a patient’s skin concern. The consultant can provide a second opinion - often in real-time - and help decide whether a referral to urgent care is needed.
A dermatoscope - which fits to the GP’s own phone - is also used to capture clinical grade photos of the worrying skin lesion which can be sent securely to the consultant via the app. The specialist can then review the lesion remotely, and decide whether they need to see the patient in clinic, or if they can instead be treated outside of hospital.
As well as the significant reduction in unnecessary referrals, use of Cinapsis in Norfolk has also helped to reduce wait times for specialist advice from 50 weeks to 48 hours. We’re incredibly proud of the impact the partnership has had to date, and are excited to continue working with North Norfolk Primary Care to expand the reach of the service across a growing number of practices.