Business

‘Teledermatology’ Offered by UnitedHealthcare

August 31, 2015, 3:55 PM HST
* Updated August 31, 3:56 PM
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Faster diagnosis and treatment of skin disorders with the use of remote imaging and telemedicine technology is now available for individuals enrolled in UnitedHealthcare’s Medicaid plan.

More timely diagnosis and treatment will be provided for primary care physicians through a new service that connects them to dermatologists online through a secure telemedicine application.

Digital images of the area of concern during the patient exam can now be captured by primary care physicians using the health care’s new service. The images can be transmitted to a dermatologist through a secure, online application using their computer, tablet, or smartphone.

Using the new service, physicians will be able to more quickly diagnose and treat skin disorders, therefore benefiting patients, especially those who live in rural areas and who lack access to dermatologists or other specialists.

“Sharing patient data and images remotely reduces the wait for real-time results, which can be critically important for patients – especially when it concerns conditions like skin cancer,” said Dr. Ron Fujimoto, chief medical officer of UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Hawai’i.

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In Hawai’i, skin cancer and other skin-related issues are a large concern due to the state’s close proximity to the equator and amount of sun.

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Melanoma cases on the Big Island, Maui County, and Kauai are higher than the national average, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. On Maui alone, the number is double the national average. Melanoma is not the most common type of skin cancer, but it is the most deadly. A total of 75 percent of all deaths from skin cancer are from Melanoma, according to the EPA.

“Telemedicine now gives Medicaid beneficiaries in Hawai’i access to more timely care and treatment,” said David Heywood, CEO of UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Hawai’i, UnitedHealthcare’s Medicaid business in the state. “This technology helps save time and costs, and gives patients better access to care no matter where they live.”

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