“Teledermatology” using online technology gives patients better
access to care, and quicker diagnosis and treatment
HONOLULU–(BUSINESS WIRE)–People enrolled in UnitedHealthcare’s Medicaid plan in Hawaii can now
receive faster diagnosis and treatment of skin disorders using remote
imaging and telemedicine technology.
Primary care physicians will be able to deliver more timely diagnosis
and treatment through a new service that connects them to dermatologists
online through a secure telemedicine application.
Using UnitedHealthcare’s new service, primary care physicians can
capture digital images of the area of concern during the patient exam.
They can then transmit the images to a dermatologist through a secure,
online application using their computer, tablet or smartphone. This
enables physicians to more quickly diagnose and treat skin disorders,
benefiting patients – especially people who live in rural areas and lack
access to dermatologists or other specialists. Patients can receive
treatment faster, and save time and money.
“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 Hawaii.
Skin cancer and other skin-related issues are a significant concern in
Hawaii due to constant sunshine and the state’s close proximity to the
equator. The rate of new melanoma diagnoses in Maui, Hawaii and Kauai
counties is higher than the national average; in Maui County, the rate
is nearly double the national average. Although melanoma is not the most
common type of skin cancer, it is the most deadly, responsible for about
75 percent of all deaths from skin cancer.1
For many people in Hawaii, the nearest dermatologist may be hours away.
Arranging to see a specialist could take weeks to confirm an appointment
and require additional time off work to travel to the appointment.
“Telemedicine now gives Medicaid beneficiaries in Hawaii access to more
timely care and treatment,” said David Heywood, CEO of UnitedHealthcare
Community Plan of Hawaii, 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.”
UnitedHealthcare, a UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) company, is using
telemedicine technology, care provider networks and benefit
plan/reimbursement programs to improve access and health outcomes, and
reduce costs. UnitedHealthcare offers a broad portfolio of telemedicine
programs, including consumer-directed, telepsychiatry, remote home
monitoring, specialty consultation and other services to assist care
providers in evaluating their patients’ clinical needs.
UnitedHealthcare serves 235,000 people in Hawaii with a network of 23
hospitals and more than 5,700 physicians and other care providers
is dedicated to helping people nationwide live healthier lives by
simplifying the health care experience, meeting consumer health and
wellness needs, and sustaining trusted relationships with care
providers. The company offers the full spectrum of health benefit
programs for individuals, employers, military service members, retirees
and their families, and Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, and
contracts directly with more than 800,000 physicians and care
professionals, and 6,000 hospitals and other care facilities nationwide.
UnitedHealthcare is one of the businesses of UnitedHealth Group (NYSE:
UNH), a diversified Fortune 50 health and well-being company. For more
information, visit UnitedHealthcare at www.uhc.com
or follow @myUHC on Twitter.
Molly McMillen, 612-353-7778