Almost one-half of patients with acne who had a telemedicine consultation during the COVID-19 pandemic preferred telemedicine even when in-person visits were allowed, researchers reported in a study published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology.

The retrospective analysis evaluated the long-term results of telemedicine visits for patients attending an outpatient dermatology clinic for acne during the COVID-19 pandemic in Italy.

Patients diagnosed with acne who participated in a first control or follow-up video visit from March 1, 2020 to March 31, 2021, were included. During the telemedicine consultation, a physician evaluated a patient’s acne severity and treatment efficacy.


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A total of 213 patients with acne (138 women) with a median age of 21.8 years were included. All patients had at least 1 video visit—25.4% had first visits, and 74.6% had follow-up consultations.

Among the cohort, (63.8% of patients had mild to moderate forms of acne, 16.9%of patients had severe acne, and 19.3% of patients had acne scars. A majority of patients were prescribed topical medications (157/213; 73.7%) vs systemic therapies (56/213; 26.3%), of whom 21 received oral isotretinoin.

When in-person restrictions were lifted in Italy, 48.3% of patients continued with telemedicine follow-up visits, and 51.7% preferred in-person visits. Among the 103 patients who preferred virtual follow-up visits, 97 had mild to moderate forms of acne and were receiving topical treatment, and 6 patients were treated with systemic and topical therapies.

All patients reported a high grade of satisfaction, and those who lived a distance from their physician preferred video visits.

“Video visits should be also considered an important tool to take into account for reducing waiting list to minimize treatment delays,” stated the study authors. “Nevertheless, dermatologists should be cautioned when using telemedicine, in particular for urgent patients or those taking oral treatments that require more care.”

Reference

Villani A, Annunziata MC, Megna M, Scalvenzi M, Fabbrocini G. Long-term results of teledermatology for acne patients during COVID-19 pandemic. J Cosmet Dermatol. Published online January 28, 2022. doi:10.1111/jocd.14805