The team running the project, made up of Isle of Wight CCG, Isle of Wight NHS Trust, Lighthouse Medical, Wessex Academic Health Science Network (AHSN) and Gnosco, has been shortlisted in the Primary Care Innovation of the Year category.
GP practices on the Isle of Wight have been using the app-based innovation to help rapidly refer people who are concerned about skin abnormalities. The technology reduces waiting times, some from over a month to just a few days, reduces the amount of follow-up appointments required and supports social distancing, which has been vital during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dermicus photographs and helps to diagnose skin issues, including skin cancer. It rapidly shares images of suspect skin lesions between GPs and dermatologists. This is especially useful for the Isle of Wight, if the dermatologist is not physically on the Island, so they are able to diagnose remotely.
The project was initially launched last year, and now every GP surgery on the Island is using the app.
The app – and new way of working – has seen waiting times between referral and review decrease dramatically. Previously, the average wait from referral to first consultant review was 26 days. For referrals that have been using Dermicus, the wait time is 0.6 days.
- For routine referrals, the wait time decreased from 33 days
- For urgent referrals, the wait time decreased from 27 days
- For two-week wait referrals the wait time decreased from 10 days
- All to 0.6 days
Due to the remote referral, there has been a reduction in follow-up appointments, as patients are being booked straight to a biopsy if required. This means they do not need the first appointment to confirm if a biopsy is required.
Dr Michele Legg, a GP in Ryde and a Clinical Chair for the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Partnership of Clinical Commissioning Groups, said:
“I’m delighted to hear that this initiative has received this deserved national recognition. It’s been a real team effort from the NHS on the Island to improve both health outcomes and the patient experience – and it is already proving its worth.”
Joe Smyth, Chief Operating Officer at Isle of Wight NHS Trust, said:
“We are extremely proud of the team who have been involved with the roll out of teledermatoscopy. By embracing new technologies, we have introduced a programme of diagnosis that increases accessibility and equal treatment for our patients with suspected skin cancer.
“Our island community has been at the heart of this partnership working and we are pleased that along with dramatically reducing waiting times between referral and review, that the team’s efforts are being recognised by being shortlisted for a healthcare award.”
The team has been shortlisted despite the tough competition from over 1,000 entries. They have been selected based on their ambition, visionary spirit, and the demonstrable positive impact that their project has had on patient and staff experiences within the health and social care sector.
The judging panel is made up of a diverse range of highly influential and respected figures within the healthcare community including Sir Bruce Keogh, Chair, Birmingham Women’s and Children’s FT; Mark Axcell, Chief Executive, Black Country Healthcare FT and Caroline Beardall, Director of Workforce and OD, NHS England and NHS Improvement – South East.