Why This Matters

Inequities in Health Outcomes:  Even though the incidence of melanoma is lower in American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) populations, AI/AN patients are more likely to present with stage IV melanoma than white patients and have a greater risk of disease-specific mortality. Furthermore, after controlling for sociodemographic factors, areas with a higher density of dermatologists predict improved melanoma prognosis.

Dermatology Is Part of Robust Primary Care: One-third of patients presenting to their primary care doctor have at least one skin disease, and nationally, the likelihood of referral for skin disorders is greater than for other conditions, perhaps reflecting the lack of core training on dermatology in medical school and residency. Teledermatology, however, is emerging as a health systems innovation which has shown promise in improving care for geographically and/or economically disadvantaged populations, without compromising reliable, accurate diagnoses.