Massachusetts General HospitalAcne is said to be a general human skin disease, seemingly typified by regions of skin with multiple noninflammatory follicular papules or comedones and by inflammatory papules, pustules, and nodules in its more acute forms. A study claims that follow-up visits performed by means of a safe Website may lead to similar clinical outcomes as in-person visits among patients with acne.

Dermatology, especially, appears to be confronted by challenges like an augment in skin cancer and a work force that is not said to be evenly distributed geologically.

Providing background information, the authors commented, “Ensuring timely access to high-quality care is currently a challenge for the stressed U.S. health care system. Many specialties, including internal medicine, psychiatry and dermatology, are struggling to accommodate a growing demand for appointments owing to a critical shortage of health care providers.”

Around 151 patients with mild to moderate acne were included in the study. Alice J. Watson, M.B.Ch.B., M.R.C.P., M.P.H., Hagit Bergman, M.D., M.P.H., and colleagues at Center for Connected Health, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston wanted to assess whether remote online visits and office care appeared to generate corresponding clinical results. Of these, roughly 74 were allocated to have roughly four follow-up visits by means of an e-visit platform. Every six weeks, they were seemingly asked to mail in digital pictures of their skin and an update using a safe Website to the dermatologist, who answered with advice and electronic prescriptions. The other 77 volunteers had to go to the dermatologists’ office four times.

A sum of roughly 121 patients finished the study. The reduction in the amount of inflammatory acne lesions was seemingly similar between the e-visit i.e. 6.67 and office visit groups i.e. 9.39. Both dermatologists and patients accounted for comparable levels of satisfaction with their care in spite of the visit kind. As opposed to office visits, e-visits apparently saved time for patients and did not appear to alter the quantity of time dermatologists spent with every patient i.e. 4 minutes and 8 seconds vs. 4 minutes and 42 seconds.

The authors remarked, “In this trial, delivering follow-up care to subjects with mild to moderate acne via office and online visits produced equivalent clinical outcomes by several different metrics. These findings suggest that dermatologists obtain sufficient information from digital images and survey responses to make appropriate management decisions in the treatment of acne.”

The authors added that this model of care delivery was popular with both physicians and patients, likely owing to the convenience and/or time savings associated with e-visits.

The study was published in the Archives of Dermatology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.