5 August 2019
Two island GP practices are using a pioneering new app that speeds up how quickly a skin problem can be seen by a specialist and give a patient a diagnosis.
And due to the Dermicus app’s quick and accurate service, it is also helping to free up the time of doctors and nurses so they can see more patients.
Argyll House Surgery, in Argyll Street, Ryde, and St Helens Medical Centre, in Upper Green Road, St Helens, are two champion sites for the app.
The success of the app is being reviewed by the Wessex Academic Health Science Network (AHSN) – an NHS organisation that looks at how technology can help improve health services.
Through the app, a GP or nurse specialist is able to take high-quality photographs, including greatly-magnified images, of any skin abnormality a patient comes in concerned over.
The app is linked up to technology that enables these images to be securely sent to the dermatology service for review.
Specialists at the dermatology service, which is provided by Lighthouse Medical, will then be able to review the images and determine if no further action needs to be taken, if they need a biopsy, come in for a face-to-face appointment, or referral to another service.
Both GPs and specialist nurses have been trained in how to use the app, which has been designed and created by company Gnosco, and are already experiencing the benefits of the new technology.
Dr Christine Seiger, GP at Argyll House Surgery, said: “The biggest benefit we have experienced is both the speed in which we can send images across to specialists, and also how easy it is to use.
“Having access to this app is great as not only do patients get access to a specialist reviewing their case quicker, it can also help with the earlier detection of cancer and speed up the process for receiving treatment.”
Isle of Wight NHS Trust commissions Lighthouse Medical to provide the dermatology service on the island.
Amy Poyner, clinical director of Lighthouse Medical, said: “The island has a high rate of melanoma and so it’s crucial we embrace new and innovative technology to help serve our patients.
“Our team at the Lighthouse Clinic is very excited to be working with GPs to try this out and we feel the outcomes help residents and primary care.
“Reduction in unnecessary visits and time off work, together with creating a service that will be able to secure future dermatology access for island residents, is a huge step forward.
“The time is now for embracing new ways of providing health care in the NHS.”
Matthew Williams, primary care innovations manager at Wessex AHSN, is coordinating the rollout, and said: “At the AHSN, we work with companies which have innovations that can help improve services for patients and save NHS staff time and money.
“The Dermicus app has huge potential to do both, and we’re thrilled patients on the Isle of Wight have the opportunity to access this new, exciting service.”
The NHS Isle of Wight Clinical Commissioning Group commissions the overall dermatology services for the island.