This information is for anyone with 1 or 2 skin lesions (damaged tissue) who has been referred to the teledermatology clinic by their GP.
What is the teledermatology clinic?
At the Kingston Hospital teledermatology clinic, a trained clinical photographer takes digital photographs of your skin lesion(s).
The clinic is run in partnership with an external company called Skin Analytics. Skin Analytics review the digital photographs to check if you need to come back to Kingston Hospital for further assessment or treatment.
Who are Skin Analytics?
Skin Analytics is an external company working with Kingston Hospital. It uses an artificial intelligence (AI) computer program to examine and assess the digital photographs of your skin lesion(s). The AI computer program is called DERM.
DERM can recognise skin cancer and a range of common harmless skin conditions. It will assess whether you need to see a dermatologist about your skin lesion(s). After reviewing your skin lesion(s), it produces a report for the Kingston Hospital dermatology team.
For more information about Skin Analytics and their use of data see the ‘How does Skin Analytics use my data?’ section below.
What happens at my teledermatology clinic appointment?
At the appointment, you will see a clinical photographer (not a doctor) and they will do the following:
Ask you some questions about your medical history and your skin lesion(s).
Explain which photographs they need to take to assess your lesion(s).
Ask you to remove some of your jewellery and/or make-up if this gives them a better view of your skin lesion(s).
Ask you to remove some of your clothes if this gives them a better view of your skin lesion(s). If you need to remove clothes covering a sensitive area of your body, you may ask for a Kingston Hospital chaperone (someone of the same sex as you who will stay in the room with you).
Take detailed close-up photographs of your skin lesion(s) using a specialised camera lens. They will press the camera lens gently against the surface of your skin. This is usually painless, but tell the photographer if it is too uncomfortable.
The teledermatology clinic appointment usually takes about 30 minutes.
The clinical photographer can only take photographs of lesions that are documented on your GP referral letter.
Speak to the clinical photographer if you have any questions about the photography or about the role of Skin Analytics.
What happens if my skin lesion(s) cannot be seen clearly by the photographer?
Occasionally it is not possible to photograph a skin lesion. Examples include lesions that are covered in hair or hidden under fingernails or toenails. The photographer will tell you if this is the case.
Sometimes they may be able to take digital photographs using a different digital camera and send them directly to a Kingston Hospital dermatologist rather than to Skin Analytics. In some cases, the photographer will need to arrange an appointment with a hospital dermatologist without taking any photographs.
Do I need to give permission for photographs to be taken of my skin lesion(s)?
Yes, you need to give permission (consent).
Before they begin, the clinical photographer will explain which photographs they need to take. If you are happy to proceed, they will ask you to give:
Written consent for clinical photography during your teledermatology clinic appointment.
Verbal consent for Skin Analytics to process, review and store the photographs.
We will not take photographs without your consent.
You can withdraw your consent at any time during the session or afterwards by contacting us using the details in the Contacts section below.
What happens to the digital photographs after my appointment?
After your appointment the photographs of your skin lesion(s) will be saved securely and uploaded to your Kingston Hospital Electronic Patient Record.
They will also be encrypted (protected) and securely transferred electronically to Skin Analytics so they can be analysed by the DERM computer program.
Skin Analytics will send its assessment to the Kingston Hospital dermatology team who will read it and review your clinical photographs.
The Kingston Hospital dermatology team will send you a letter explaining your results, usually within 21 working days.
They will let you know if you need to come into hospital for further assessment or treatment or if you do not need further treatment.
If you need further assessment or treatment, the hospital will send a letter to you and your GP explaining how to manage your skin lesion(s). They may also offer you an appointment (in person or online).
020 8934 6473
Contact the dermatology team if you have not heard after 3 weeks.
What happens if the Kingston Hospital dermatology team needs more information to make a diagnosis?
If the dermatology team needs more information to make a diagnosis, they may ask you to do one of the following:
Come into the hospital for a biopsy (skin sample) or to have the skin lesion(s) removed surgically.
Come into the hospital for a face to face clinical appointment with a dermatologist.
Arrange a date for a video or telephone consultation.
If you recommend an urgent follow up appointment or surgery, does this mean I have cancer?
If you are asked to attend an urgent follow-up appointment (normally this is within a few weeks), it does not necessarily mean that you have cancer. Skin lesion(s) can be caused by many different things.
What happens if my skin lesion(s) require non-urgent treatment?
If your skin lesion(s) require non-urgent treatment, the Kingston Hospital dermatology team will contact your GP to ask them to arrange some treatment for you.
What happens if my skin lesion(s) do not require further treatment?
If your skin lesion(s) do not require further treatment, we will do one of the following:
Invite you for a routine follow-up appointment at the Kingston Hospital Dermatology Department so we can check your lesion(s).
Invite you for a further teledermatology photography session to make sure your lesion(s) still do not need treatment.
Send a clinic letter to you and your GP saying that you do not need hospital treatment for your lesion(s).
Make a GP appointment if you notice any change in your skin lesion(s) or are concerned about other lesions or skin problems.
Can I ask for digital copies of the photographs of my skin lesion(s)?
Yes. To obtain a copy of your photographs, download and complete a health records form or, if you are not able to download a form, you can visit the PALS office near the main entrance of the hospital.
Send your completed form to the Health Records Access Supervisor or the Head of Information Governance/Data Protection Officer (their address is in the Contacts section below).
Can I ask for my digital photographs to be deleted?
If a doctor uses your digital photographs to make a clinical decision, they cannot be deleted. However, you can ask that they are hidden from view on your Electronic Patient Record. They will remain hidden until you give us your permission to view them again.
If you agreed that we can use your anonymised photographs in public (for example, on our website), you cannot later withdraw them after they have been published.
If you decide not to give consent for your photographs to be visible on your Electronic Patient Record, this will not affect your treatment or any future treatment you may receive.
How does Skin Analytics use my data?
The digital photographs we take at the teledermatology clinic are only sent to Skin Analytics if you give verbal permission for us to do this during your teledermatology appointment.
Skin Analytics will store your data securely. This may include:
medical history data
date of birth
information collected during the assessment
subsequent diagnoses relating to your assessed lesions.
Skin Analytics uses your data for the following purposes:
to assess your skin lesion(s) and write a report about your skin lesion(s).
to send a report to the Kingston Hospital dermatology team so they can provide further treatment (if you need it)
to send the report to your GP so that it can be added to your medical records
to review the report for quality assurance purposes
If Skin Analytics uses your data for research purposes, it will be fully anonymised.
Health Records Access Supervisor, Kingston Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Galsworthy Road, Kingston KT2 7QB
Head of Information Governance and Data Protection Officer, Kingston Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Galsworthy Road, Kingston KT2 7QB
Please speak to a member of staff before or during your visit to the hospital if you require translation.
Please contact the Patient Experience Team on 020 8934 3850 if you need this information in a different format.
For information accessibility please visit Kingston Hospital AccessAble www.accessable.co.uk/kingston-hospital-nhs-foundation-trust
Visit the hospital website, ask a member of staff, or ring us for details.
Switchboard 020 8546 7711
‘Find Us’ page for maps, transport, registering a blue badge, disabled access
Information, advice and support for patients and relatives (PALS) 020 8934 3993
Please speak to a member of staff before or during your visit to the hospital if you require translation support to access Patient Information. Please ring the phone number on your appointment letter, if you have one.
Request More Information
Please contact the Patient Experience Team on 020 893 3850 if you need this information in a different format.
For detailed information on accessibility at Kingston Hospital visit Kingston Hospital AccessAble (https://www.accessable.co.uk/kingston-hospital-nhs-foundation-trust).
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