A Rejected Hypothesis


Background: Adherence to dermatological treatment is described as poor. Empathy and open communication in the physician-patient relationship has been proven to improve adherence. As direct-to-consumer teledermatology enables patients to access dermatological consultations without in-person interactions, we hypothesized treatment adherence in teledermatology to be low. Methods: The objective of the study was to examine treatment adherence in teledermatology. This retrospective cross-sectional study used data from patients treated through a German direct-to-consumer teledermatology platform between July 2021 and April 2022. Additional information was collected through voluntary follow-up questionnaires provided to patients to assess individual treatment success, treatment-related adverse events, and treatment adherence. Results: Data collection included 771 patients; 61.6% (475/771) were women (mean age 35 years). In 46% (355/771), skin disease had been present for <3 months before teleconsultation. Of all patients who answered the follow-up questionnaire (n = 228), 28.5% (65/228) reported treatment-related adverse events, with skin dryness being the most common (56.9%, 37/65). Adverse events resulting in treatment discontinuation were reported in 1.3% (3/228) of all cases. Improvement in skin condition on therapy was described by 75.4% (172/228). In 85.5% (195/228), full treatment adherence was reported. Conclusion: This is the first study worldwide to examine data on treatment adherence in direct-to-consumer-teledermatology. Despite the lack of doctor-patient interaction, the results of our study demonstrate that most patients show high treatment adherence. Possible drivers contributing to high compliance rates could be the high proportion of new-onset skin diseases, the high treatment success of the prescribed therapies, and the low rate of serious adverse events.

Bibliografische Daten

StatusVeröffentlicht - 07.2023
PubMed 36480808