Using teledermatology to treat inmate patients
A unique teledermatology partnership is improving the health and well-being of female prisoners in Connecticut.
Tara Hood’s story
As a clinician at the only women’s correctional facility in Connecticut, I work to ensure that inmate patients—regardless of their crime or sentence—receive the preventive care and treatment they need for chronic and acute health conditions.
We’ve developed strong relationships with specialist providers across the state, like Dr. Jun Lu and the dermatology department at the University of Connecticut Health Center. Inmate patients with dermatology conditions can see Dr. Lu and her colleagues in a traditional office setting or via real-time video teledermatology from the prison.
For teledermatology appointments, I assist the dermatologists by taking the patient’s vital signs, providing updated medication lists, ordering lab work, and capturing any medical photos needed. This information enables the dermatologist to diagnose the patient and determine an appropriate treatment plan.
We see many cases of psoriasis, which can be particularly challenging in this setting. Having an uncomfortable and visible condition like psoriasis or eczema can make a patient an easy target of fellow prisoners and requires consistent treatment and management. Dr. Lu recognizes how important health is to patients’ physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Our patients are incredibly grateful for Dr. Lu’s expertise and professionalism, and so am I.
The dermatologist's perspective
“Our partnership with the Connecticut Department of Correction fills a major need for inmate patients with dermatologic conditions. There’s generally a long waitlist for in-office appointments due to transit challenges, and the Department of Correction providers aren’t specifically trained in dermatology. By offering teledermatology, my team can efficiently diagnose and treat these patents. Because severe skin conditions often affect quality of life and mental health, our program is critical to inmate patients’ overall well-being. I’m proud of the work we do for these women.”
─ Jun Lu, MD, FAAD, University of Connecticut Health Center
Patient & physician stories
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