Dermatology Services Now Available Via Telehealth Technology To UnitedHealthcare Medicaid Beneficiaries In Rhode Island Through Thundermist Health Center

People enrolled in UnitedHealthcare's Medicaid plan in Rhode Island may now receive faster diagnosis and treatment of skin disorders using remote digital imaging and telehealth technology through Thundermist Health Center.

Thundermist's primary care providers are able to deliver more timely diagnosis and treatment of skin disorders through a new e-consultation service. Physicians can capture and transmit digital images of areas of concern during patient exams through a secure, online electronic medical record. The physicians then receive a diagnosis of the health concern within 48 business hours.

Through near real-time consultations with offsite dermatologists, physicians can more quickly diagnose and treat UnitedHealthcare Medicaid patients - especially those who may lack easy access to dermatologists or other specialists - regardless of which medical office they are visiting. According to a 2014 JAMA Dermatology, the average wait time for an in-person appointment is 46 days.

"It was very easy to conduct an electronic consult for my patient, and the results came back very quickly. I simply transmitted a picture of the concern through our medical record, and a licensed dermatologist reviewed it and provided diagnosis and treatment recommendations," said Dr. Sara Delaporta, the first care provider in Rhode Island to conduct an electronic consult through Thundermist. "This service gives my patients access to extremely timely care."

"We are collaborating with Thundermist on this innovative technology to ensure our Medicaid members in Rhode Island will have better access to quality care no matter where they live," said Patrice Cooper, CEO, UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Rhode Island.

Skin cancer and other skin-related issues are a significant concern in Rhode Island. About 240 Rhode Islanders were diagnosed with melanoma of the skin on average every year from 2007 through 2011, with an average of 33 people dying annually due to melanoma during that same time period.

"We look forward to working with UnitedHealthcare on piloting this great innovation. While many skin conditions are non-life threatening, quick diagnosis and treatment can help individuals heal - and for some with more serious conditions, save their lives," said Charles Jones, president and CEO of Thundermist. "This system puts more specialty expertise and support in the hands of the primary care provider, avoiding financial and transportation-related barriers to care for our patients."

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