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Dermatological consultations in the COVID-19 era: Is teledermatology the key to social distancing? An Egyptian experience

Background:
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has received marked attention globally. A worldwide call for social distancing occurred. Although the reduction of face-to-face consultation is required in order to reduce the risk of infection, dermatological services must be maintained in action and “teledermatology” should be the solution.
Materials & Methods:
We introduce a cross sectional observational study, demonstrating the patients’ behavior regarding dermatological consultations in Cairo, Egypt in both private and Public practice. Synchronous (live interaction via What’s app and Zoom) and asynchronous (What’s app, emails) teledermatology models were used. After the end of the teleconsultation, patients were asked to fill a questionnaire adapted from the Telehealth Usability Questionnaire (TUQ)
Results:
There was an overall satisfaction and future use score among the interviewed patients that received Teledermatology services of 91.0%, a usefulness score of 93.7%, interface and interaction quality scores of 85.9% and 87.0%, ease and use learnability score of 87.8 %, and a reliability score of 86.7%.
Conclusion:
Teledermatology was efficient in triaging and treatment, hence, decreasing the risk of COVID-19 exposure for the physician, the patient, and the paramedical personnel in heavily populated third world countries. Legislation is needed to sanction physician compensation for teledermatology where this does not exist.