‘Rapid access’ telehealth service for VHI members will use specialist imaging equipment.
Health insurer VHI has launched a new telehealth dermatology service in partnership with AllView Healthcare, saying it will provide rapid access to care and treatment for skin conditions including acne, lesions and melanomas.
Appointments under the service will be available to VHI members within 10 days, which the insurer said was one of the fastest routes to dermatology treatment. More than 45,000 people are currently awaiting a dermatology appointment, the VHI said, with 43 per cent of those waiting for six months or more.
Research commissioned by VHI shows one in four people are concerned about the impact of sun damage on their skin.
“Over recent years, there has been a growing incidence of skin cancer and other skin conditions with an increasing number of patients requiring end-to-end care from diagnosis to surgical excision. This trend is only set to accelerate,” said Dr Rupert Barry, consultant dermatologist and clinical lead for VHI Dermotology Services.
“That is resulting in considerable wait times for patients looking to access dermatology services in Ireland, with one in four having to wait a year or more for treatment.”
Telehealth appointments will be available for VHI members at AllView Healthcare Clinics, with specialist imaging equipment used to record a series of high definition microscopic and macroscopic images of the skin complaint.
Following an initial appointment, AllView’s network of dermatology consultants will deliver a diagnosis and treatment plan to manage conditions quickly and effectively.
If surgery, biopsy or a face-to-face appointment is subsequently required, the AllView Healthcare GP will explain this to the patient and give them the fast-access option of attending the VHI dermatology clinic at its centre in Carrickmines in Dublin.
More than 1,000 new cases of melanoma are diagnosed every year in Ireland, while non-melanoma skin cancer is the most common type of cancer. By 2045, it is projected that the number of cases of melanoma diagnosed among men will rise by 177 per cent, while among women the projected increase rate is 140 per cent.