A randomized trial to evaluate the efficacy of online follow-up visits in the management of acne.

Source: Watson, A. J., et al. 2010 - Pubmed ID: 20404229

Setting: USA, 2 Teaching hospitals

Study design:



Follow up: 24 weeks

Patient group:

Sample size:

Total: 151 (121)

IG: 74 (54)

CG: 77 (67)


Inclusion criteria:

  • Mild to moderate acne
  • 12 years or older
Type of technology:


  • Upload pictures
  • Answer disease-specific questions


  • Modify treatments
  • Clarify patient history
  • Attach electronic prescriptions

Intervention: Patients capture 3 facial digital images and upload them to a secure website and complete a structured set of disease-specific questions online. Dermatologists responded to e-visit subjects within 3 business days. The e-visit platform allowed physicians to modify treatments, clarify the history, and attach electronic prescriptions.


Duration: 24 weeks (4 follow up e-visits with dermatologist at 6 weeks intervals)
Add on: NA 


Control group: In clinic follow up.

Clinical effect/ Patient safety:

 Clinical effect:

  • Change in total inflammatory lesions →
  • Acne improvement →


Patient safety: NA

Patient experiences/ Staff experiences:

Patient experiences:

  • Satisfaction
  • Proportion of patients who would consider using e-visit again 91%

Staff experiences:

  • Satisfaction with overall care →
Costs and organization:


Staff resources

  • Development of web site
  • Training staff to review digital images.

Staff resources

  • Dermatologist responding e-visit.


  • Development of new skills


Health care utilization:

  • Time per visit →
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“↑”: Statistically significant increase

“↓”: Statistically significant decrease

“→”: Statistically insignificant (no difference)