Arizonans enrolled in UnitedHealthcare’s Medicaid plan can now receive faster diagnosis and treatment of skin disorders using remote imaging and telemedicine technology.

Primary care physicians will be able to deliver more timely diagnosis and treatment through a new service that connects them to dermatologists online through a secure telemedicine application.

Using UnitedHealthcare’s new service, primary care physicians can capture digital images of the area of concern during the patient exam. They can then transmit the images to a dermatologist through a secure, online application using their computer, tablet or smartphone. This enables physicians to more quickly diagnose and treat skin disorders, benefiting patients – especially people who live in rural areas and lack access to dermatologists or other specialists. Patients can receive treatment faster, and save time and money.

Skin cancer and other skin-related issues are a significant concern in Arizona due to constant sunshine. About 1,000 Arizonans are diagnosed with melanoma – the most dangerous form of skin cancer – every year, and 170 of them will die from it. In some parts of the state, the melanoma death rate is about 70 percent higher than the national average, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

For many people in Arizona, the nearest dermatologist may be hours away by car or bus. Arranging to see a specialist could take weeks to confirm an appointment and then a day or more of missed work to travel to the appointment.

“Telemedicine now gives Medicaid beneficiaries in Arizona access to more timely care and treatment,” said Jeri Jones, regional vice president of UnitedHealthcare’s Medicaid business in Arizona. “This technology helps save time and costs, and gives patients better access to care no matter where they live.”

UnitedHealthcare is using telemedicine technology, care provider networks and benefit plan/reimbursement programs to improve access and health outcomes and reduce costs. UnitedHealthcare offers a broad portfolio of telemedicine programs, including consumer-directed, telepsychiatry, remote home monitoring, specialty consultation and other services to assist care providers in evaluating their patients’ clinical needs.

UnitedHealthcare serves nearly 1.8 million people in Arizona with a network of 95 hospitals and more than 24,000 physicians and other care providers statewide.