The University of Nebraska Board of Regents approved a request late last month by the University of Nebraska Medical Center to establish a Department of Dermatology in the College of Medicine in Omaha. Dean, Dr. Bradley Britigan says Nebraska has the poorest ratio of any the Midwest region when it comes to the number of dermatologists and the demand is high.
Dr. Britigan says, “There is a shortage of dermatologists nationally but it’s particularly a challenge in Nebraska. There are dermatologists in the larger cities but particularly when you get down to rural parts of Nebraska there are few and far between and even in Omaha you can wait months to get an appointment to see a dermatologist.”
Officials say the creation of the department will begin with recruitment of a department chair followed by a smaller number of faculty with focused subspecialty interests within dermatology.
Dr. Britigan says, “In Nebraska, we have one dermatologist for every 58,000. With a telemedicine program, we hope to be able to provide access in skin specialists regardless of where one lives in the state of Nebraska.”
Tele-dermatology would be a good fit for the state. Photos, videos and data communications of many skin conditions can be evaluated off-site by dermatologists. This reduces wait time for patients while allowing dermatologists to place a higher priority on more serious conditions.