Review Article Open Access
Volume 3 | Issue 1 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.33696/immunology.3.079

Teledermatology Before, During, and After COVID-19: A Vital Tool to Improve Access and Equity in Specialty Care

  • 1Department of Dermatology, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA
  • 2Department of Dermatology, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA
  • Represents co-first authors
+ Affiliations - Affiliations

Corresponding Author

Avery LaChance, alachance@bwh.harvard.edu

Received Date: December 15, 2020

Accepted Date: February 10, 2021


Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, telemedicine has rapidly expanded across the nation as medical systems have had to shift to providing care through virtual modalities to ensure the safety of patients and staff. Teledermatology, in particular, is wellsuited for telemedicine, with literature supporting its efficacy, equitable quality and accuracy, and cost-effectiveness in comparison to in-person visits. Teledermatology holds great potential in continuing to increase access to patients and ensuring continuity of care, particularly for those from rural and underserved areas. Although introduced decades ago, the adoption of virtual visits has previously been limited by restrictive coverage policies, lack of reimbursement, and maintenance costs. While the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and most private payers have ensured broad coverage for telehealth since the start of the pandemic, many of these policy changes are temporary and set to expire at the end of the public health emergency. Continued advocacy efforts and future studies highlighting teledermatology’s impact, particularly on minorities and underserved patient populations, are critical for long-term legislative changes to occur and to provide coverage to our most vulnerable patients. In this article, we highlight the state of teledermatology prior to the pandemic, the legislative changes that permitted teledermatology to rapidly expand during the pandemic, and the importance of continued coverage after the pandemic.


Teledermatology, Telehealth, COVID-19, Access, Policy, Advocacy, Equality

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