Teledermatology makes it possible to detect urgent cases

Teledermatology makes it possible to detect urgent cases

These days the Annual congress of the Spanish Academy of Dermatology and Venereology (AEDV). Yolanda Gilaberte, first vice president of this scientific society, has explained in a meeting with the media how teledermatology has experienced a huge boost during the pandemic. “It is an extremely useful tool, among other things, to prioritize the cases that most urgently need attention,” he said.

For Dr. Gilaberte, technological tools have greatly facilitated the work of dermatologists. Among others, he highlighted those used to measure scales of severity of skin diseases, to support diagnosis and prescription. Telemedicine, he added, has been key to the specialty in the last year and a half. The pandemic, the reason why the AEDV congress is held in person for the first time since the 2019 call, also has a special relevance in the scientific program of the meeting.

Dermatology in times of pandemic

Teledermatology has been a key tool for the specialty in the last year and a half. The role of Spanish dermatologists and the Academy in research on the skin manifestations of Covid-19 has been key and recognized internationally. Cristina Galván, dermatologist at the University Hospital of Móstoles in Madrid and one of the main authors of the Covid Skin study, published in the magazine British Journal of Dermatology in April 2020, he recalls that “professionals and researchers from all countries have relied on him to implement their studies.” It is “the first international publication that described and classified the skin manifestations that were associated with COVID-19. This served to guide clinicians in the most critical and uncertain moment of the pandemic, ”explains Dr. Galván.

And he points out that it was “the need to help the good evolution of the pandemic from our specialty, privileged to have the target organ in sight” that led to undertaking this project. After meeting “virtually” with Dr. Alba Catalá, who would be another of the main authors, both shared the project with the AEDV and with their support “we managed to reach dermatologists throughout the country, so that 80 participated in the study contributing their cases ».

At that time, early 2020, “the consultations were closed and we received all the cases electronically. We wondered what was happening and the coincidence of the two phenomena, pandemic and avalanche of cases, prompted us to search for an answer “, says Dr. Galván. The analysis of the results “was surprising by showing that each of the five manifestations that we found and described was associated with a pattern of COVID-19 systemic severity and a preferential age range, with the clinical implications that this entailed at that time of uncertainty ”, he points out, then, until its publication“ we only had descriptions of individual cases, very short series or publications lacking description, classification and images ”.

If the role of dermatologists has been important in a time of pandemic in which “everything has been challenges,” in the words of the lead author of the Covid Skin study, it will be no less so for the coming months. In addition to facing the increase in waiting lists for appointments and procedures that still dragged on since the months of confinement, as in other specialties, specialists have to face the consequences of the excess of aggressions to which they have been subjected the skin, which has been “a great sufferer of individual protection measures”, as Dr. Galván indicates. The increase in hand washing, use of antiseptics, masks and safety clothing in toilets “has generated a veritable parallel epidemic of dermatitis.” Furthermore, as happened in the 80s, a few months after the first cases of HIV, “we expect a rebound in cases of allergic contact dermatitis,” explains the specialist.

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