Consultant Connect’s is a telemedicine provider from the UK whose technology facilitates swift connections between GPs and dermatology specialists, revolutionizing the way NHS boards across the UK grant GPs access to rapid advice from consultant dermatologists.
Utilizing teledermatology technology, GPs can capture, store, and forward photos and files directly to specialist NHS dermatology experts for preliminary advice and guidance before referrals.
The PhotoSAF technology by Consultant Connect stands as the most extensively used teledermatology platform in the UK, servicing over half of the NHS in England, Scotland, and Wales. This innovative service is employed by 3,500 NHS organizations, including GP practices and Trusts.
By using the PhotoSAF app, GPs and healthcare professionals capture images of patients’ skin, sharing these directly with dermatology specialists. These experts can swiftly identify issues and provide guidance on the best steps forward for the patients.
On average, more than two-thirds of patient cases have avoided unnecessary secondary care appointments, benefiting approximately 550,000 patient cases. This system collaborates with various dermatology services, including adult and children’s dermatology and the “two-week wait” skin cancer pathway. Images can be instantly shared within the app if Photo Advice and Guidance (A&G) is enabled, or via local referral systems or directly to a secondary care pathway.
Since its launch in 2017, over 2 million dermatology photos have been captured using the PhotoSAF app. Usage of this technology has surged by 2,400% in 2023 compared to 2019.
The platform seamlessly integrates into primary care patient records in England, managing activities, photos, and messages, and integrates with the NHS e-Referral Service (e-RS). This integration streamlines the referral process for GPs, saving valuable clinical and administrative time and ensuring accurate documentation of patients’ conditions. This process results in a cost saving of approximately £16 million for the NHS.
The impact of PhotoSAF teledermatology is substantial, benefitting patients, clinicians, and the NHS by providing rapid treatment without the necessity of a hospital visit. Jonathan Patrick, CEO of Consultant Connect, emphasizes the NHS’s pioneering use of technology to enhance care for taxpayers.
Dr. Emamoke Ubogu, a GP and partner at Swan Medical Centre, highlighted the significance of receiving advice from dermatology experts. GPs’ training in dermatology is limited, making communication with dermatologists vital. Often, specialists only require photos and medical history to make accurate diagnoses, making this technology exceptionally helpful for GPs.