At home skin assessment service now available to all Bupa UK health insurance customers
Bupa customers who are worried about a mole or skin lesion can now discuss their symptoms remotely, without the need for a GP referral. If needed, the next working day, they will be sent a kit which includes a smart phone and a dermatoscopic (magnifying) lens to take high-resolution photos of moles or lesions, which can be uploaded to an app and assessed by a dermatologist.
If there's nothing to worry about, they will be sent a report within 24 hours, which Bupa said is much faster than the usual time to arrange a face-to-face appointment. If further investigation is needed, an adviser contacts the customer to discuss next steps. Bupa will then help arrange an onward referral to a specialist.
This process is part of a new at home skin cancer assessment service available to all Bupa UK health insurance customers, once they contact the Cancer Direct Service to discuss symptoms.
Skin cancer is one of the most common cancers in the UK, and cases are on the rise. Over the last decade melanoma skin cancer incidence rates have increased by almost two-fifths (38%), and over 16,000 new cases are diagnosed every year according to Cancer Research UK.
Bupa hopes that by speeding up and making the assessment process easier, more people will get moles and marks checked by an expert dermatologist rather than avoid seeking medical help.
Dr Luke James, medical director, Bupa Global & UK said: "If detected early enough skin cancer is easily treated and survival rates are high. However, diagnosis and treatment of skin cancers are often delayed because people are aren't confident identifying the symptoms or are concerned about wasting the doctors time. This has been more telling during the pandemic.
"Most moles are harmless and they're usually nothing to worry about, but it's important to get any unusual changes to the skin checked out as it could be a sign of something more serious. Our new remote skin assessment service allows fast access to medical support and treatment for a diagnosis, or offers peace of mind that the symptoms are not cancer."
Alex Perry, CEO, Bupa UK Insurance added: "The biggest thing that makes the difference in cancer treatment is detecting and treating it early. Worryingly, at the height of the crisis fewer people were coming forward with signs and symptoms that might be cancer. Our remote skin assessment and Cancer Direct Access services help to remove any potential barriers, reducing the time between detection, diagnosis and treatment."
Neil Daly, CEO, Skin Analytics added: "We're delighted to be working with Bupa UK Insurance to deliver a new innovative skin cancer pathway that leverages both clinically validated AI and consultant dermatologists to get Bupa members access to care faster. Building on the back of our landmark clinical paper in the esteemed journal JAMA, Bupa and Skin Analytics collaborated to rapidly design and launch this service for Bupa customers."
Bupa From Home
The service is the latest addition to the health insurance's Bupa From Home package, which includes health services that customers can access from home.
Bupa recently rolled out a rapid cardiac assessment service and customers can also get advice from nurses, treatment from GPs, physios, mental health therapists, and access to diagnosis and treatment for critical conditions such as mental health.
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