What is teledermatology?

Teledermatology is where dermatological conditions are reviewed and/or diagnosed by specialist dermatologists from good photographic images. However, a diagnosis of melanoma is not determined just from photographs.

Why teledermatology?

Teledermatology means patients can receive care closer to home, often by their GP. It prevents avoidable referrals to dermatologists and reduces the time patients need to wait for a diagnosis or referral. Essentially, it speeds up the process.

Is it safe?

Many hospitals offer a teledermatology service to speed up patient diagnoses of skin conditions. Services are regularly monitored and show similar outcomes to face-to-face appointments.

If you’ve contacted your GP about a suspicious mole or lesion, they may take a photograph or you may have been asked to take a picture and send it to them by a secure messaging system which will be saved to your medical records and shared, with your permission, with a specialist dermatology team. If your GP has some concern that you may have melanoma, you may be referred for an urgent review. This does not mean you have a melanoma, it just means you will be reviewed urgently.

Teledermatology allows specialist dermatologists to quickly examine the photographic images and then only invite you to be seen face-to-face if there are any concerns or if the photographic image is not clear enough. A face-to-face appointment does not mean you have melanoma skin cancer. In fact, even if the area has been removed and examined under a microscope, only a small proportion end up being diagnosed as a melanoma. It is always better to get checked out early. Melanoma is easier to treat if picked up early.

How to take a good image?

The NHS have created a video to give you more information about this process and to explain how you can take the best picture for a specialist dermatologist to examine the mole or lesion you’re concerned about.

You can contact us on our helpline, to discuss any concerns you have.

Melanoma helpline

(Please note that our helpline nurses aren’t able to review pictures or triage patients – please do contact your GP).

Taking videos of your skin and sending them securely to your GP