UMMS Affiliation

Department of Dermatology; School of Medicine; Senior Scholars Program

Publication Date


Document Type



Dermatology | Health Policy | Health Services Administration | Infectious Disease | Telemedicine | Virus Diseases


Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, telemedicine has rapidly expanded across the nation as medical systems have had to shift to providing care through virtual modalities to ensure the safety of patients and staff. Teledermatology, in particular, is wellsuited for telemedicine, with literature supporting its efficacy, equitable quality and accuracy, and cost-effectiveness in comparison to in-person visits. Teledermatology holds great potential in continuing to increase access to patients and ensuring continuity of care, particularly for those from rural and underserved areas. Although introduced decades ago, the adoption of virtual visits has previously been limited by restrictive coverage policies, lack of reimbursement, and maintenance costs. While the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and most private payers have ensured broad coverage for telehealth since the start of the pandemic, many of these policy changes are temporary and set to expire at the end of the public health emergency. Continued advocacy efforts and future studies highlighting teledermatology’s impact, particularly on minorities and underserved patient populations, are critical for long-term legislative changes to occur and to provide coverage to our most vulnerable patients. In this article, we highlight the state of teledermatology prior to the pandemic, the legislative changes that permitted teledermatology to rapidly expand during the pandemic, and the importance of continued coverage after the pandemic.


Teledermatology, Telehealth, COVID-19, Access, Policy, Advocacy, Equality

Rights and Permissions

Copyright: © 2021 Kassamali B, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

DOI of Published Version



Kassamali B, Tan AJ, Franciosi EB, Rashighi M, LaChance A. Teledermatology Before, During, and After Covid-19: A Vital Tool to Improve Access and Equity in Specialty Care. J Cell Immunol. 2021; 3(1): 61-67.

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Journal of Cellular Immunology


Ellen B. Franciosi participated in this study as a medical student in the Senior Scholars research program at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.