Virtual Mohs Consultations Can Support Optimal Patient Outcomes
- Posted on: Apr 15 2022
The COVID-19 pandemic brought about changes we could never foresee. Across all fields of medicine, providers had to get creative about their approach to various services. While the world focused on how to understand, treat, and slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, doctors had to develop viable methods of providing new and existing patients with the continuity of care that is required for optimal health and quality of life. Yes, COVID-19 was (and is) a pressing problem in society. That said, the seriousness of this pandemic did not and cannot negate the importance of quality healthcare for other conditions. From our position, we maintain that patients of all ages deserve access to the best possible care for skin cancer. This includes skin cancer screenings and consultations for Mohs Micrographic Surgery. Looking back, we now see that the path forward was to increase the use of telemedicine and virtual healthcare. Here, we discuss the impact that this transition has had on patient outcomes related to Mohs Micrographic Surgery.
How Does a Virtual Consultation Work?
There are two ways that doctors have come to conduct virtual patient care. Patients may engage in phone conversations with the provider or may connect via a web link to an online meeting. For some, the latter has been a challenge due to technological skill and availability. Using telehealth in dermatology, patients have been able to receive care by sending images to their doctors. These may be sent via email, a form of technology that is generally easier to use. While we learned quickly that patients could learn how to utilize the various modalities to access telehealth or virtual consultations, what we weren’t sure of was the way in which the use of these modalities might impact patient outcomes. Few studies have been done to date, but those that have provide us with encouraging data.
Virtual Consultations and Mohs Surgery Outcomes
Mohs micrographic surgery is a very precise, very successful procedure for skin cancer removal. Its success has largely relied upon an accurate assessment of the skin cancer growth, obtained via a face-to-face consultation with the Mohs surgeon. Could Mohs retain its strong success rate using virtual consultations? According to an editorial published in Clinical and Experimental Dermatology, it can. This is an important note for patients as well as for Mohs surgeons. According to the editorial, no statistically significant difference was found between Mohs surgery stages and sections between groups of patients who saw their doctor face-to-face and those who engaged in virtual consultations. On average, face-to-face consultations required 1.74 stages of Mohs surgery. Virtual consultations required 1.82. Face-to-face patients had an average of 3.58 sections, whereas virtual patients had 3.31. Perhaps the most significant finding was that there were no unexpected surprises for doctors treating patients they have consulted with only virtually. Furthermore, patients who consulted with their doctors virtually reported feeling equally well-informed as patients whose consultations were performed in person.
Mohs micrographic surgery has elevated the success rate of skin cancer treatment like nothing that has come before it. We are proud to support board-certified specialists in their Mohs learning journey, and to help patients find qualified providers. To learn more about our upcoming courses or membership with the American Society for Mohs Surgery, contact us at (800) 616-2767. If you are a patient looking for a trained Mohs surgeon, check our surgeon locator for a provider near you.
Posted in: MOHS Surgery