Pilot project digital dermatology via Saba Cares a success

Saba Cares building in The Bottom | Photo: OLS

THE BOTTOM – Saba Cares, together with Care and Youth Caribbean Netherlands (ZJCN), has completed a 3-month pilot to reduce the waiting time for dermatology. 

The GP consults a dermatologist online, so that the specialist can quickly give advice remotely. The GP can then decide whether to refer to the dermatologist of Sint Maarten Medical Center (SMMC) or whether they can treat the patient themselves. Saba Cares and ZJCN are pleased with the positive results of this pilot.

On Saba, patients do not have a standard availability of a dermatologist. A dermatologist from Sint Maarten comes to Saba once every 4 weeks for consultations and patients go to SMMC for treatment, but the waiting time had increased. To overcome this problem, the option of using digital consultations has been investigated. This means that a digital dermatologist can advise GPs by remotely assessing patient photos. In this way, GPs gain fast and efficient access to expertise in the field of skin care, thereby reducing the waiting times for patients. 

A total of 3 general practitioners at Saba Cares and a remote dermatologist exchanged consultation requests via a digital platform. This was evaluated after 3 months, keeping records of the types of skin disorders, the number of patients who received digital help and whether the waiting time for the visiting dermatologist from SMMC has been reduced.


Judith Meijer, director of Saba Cares “Saba Cares is very pleased with this opportunity to quickly gain clarity for our patients. Of the 29 digital consultations, tissue was collected in 4 cases by the GP on Saba and 1 case was referred to the dermatologist at SMMC. It is great that there is quick clarity for concerned patients.”

The results are positive and the pilot has shown that GPs on Saba can get second-line expertise faster and easier for their patients. The general practitioners and the dermatologist experience the collaboration as pleasant and useful and the pilot has been found to be successful by all parties.

ZJCN will now introduce these digital dermatology consultations through a pilot on St. Eustatius and Bonaire in order to help insured persons with skin conditions more efficiently there as well.

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