A Swedish company which has created a platform to help patients get access to secure and fast diagnosis of skin cancer has teamed up with the Academic Health Science Network in Wessex.

Gnosco has joined the AHSN’s programme for testing innovations in primary care; to evaluate the company’s Dermicus teledermatology.

The aim of the programme is to increase accessibility for patients with suspected malignant melanoma and other skin cancers by providing specialist care skills remotely (teledermatology) in primary care, where the patient first presents with skin changes.

As a result, it is hoped the programme will reduce the number of unnecessary referrals to secondary care as well as benefiting patients by speeding up diagnosis.

Rachel Dominey, associate director of primary care at Wessex AHSN, said: “When Gnosco approached Wessex AHSN via our innovation registry, we recognised their solution for the secure and fast diagnosis of skin cancer met our local stakeholders’ STP priorities – the prevention and early detection of cancer, and accelerating the introduction of new models of care across Wessex.

“By testing Dermicus in our primary care innovation work, we can work with our partners to develop and evaluate a new working method for remote consultation of skin cancer.”

The results of the programme will help prove that the use of teledermatology resources in a primary care setting improves the flow and speed of referral and diagnosis of malignant melanoma and other skin cancers.

Gnosco’s director, Philip Daniels-May, added: “The NHS in England is a prestigious market for Gnosco. Our team are delighted to be working with Wessex AHSN to support them with meeting their local priorities for the early detection of cancer.

“Our experience in Sweden over the past four years is that patient waiting times for remote diagnosis are typically 24-36 hours, compared with those of the old pathway which were anything from 2-4 weeks and that was just to get the first appointment with a specialist.”

The AHSNs were established by NHS England in 2013 to spread innovation. Each AHSN works across a distinct geography serving a different population in each region.

In September 2018, it was announced that the AHSNs would be launching five digital health accelerators across England.