Mobile dermoscopy has introduced positive changes to the way traditional dermatology examinations are performed.1 Dermoscopes allow dermatologists to obtain magnified images of the skin to a level of detail that greatly aids in determining the nature of lesions.2 As a result, patient-oriented mobile dermoscopes have been designed for patients to perform high-quality self-examinations.3 This article will discuss the future directions of mobile dermoscopy as a tool for doctors and patients alike in skin cancer early diagnosis.
1. The dermoscope: a dermatologist’s stethoscope
The accuracy with which magnified images can aid in clinical diagnoses is the driving force behind dermoscopy. Several studies demonstrate the power of dermoscopes in being advantageous over traditional skin examinations with the naked-eye. In fact, it’s been shown that diagnostic accuracy can reach up to 90% for practices inclusive of dermoscopic image analysis, while simple naked-eye observation renders only a 71% efficacy.4 Unavoidably, in increasing number of medical professionals are complementing their daily in-clinic practice with dermoscopy imaging tools.
On the other hand, the massive affluence of mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets has enabled dermoscopy to reach unprecedented levels, moving into a niche that was previously unexplored. The reason behind this is the development of mobile dermoscopes such as MoleScope, specifically designed to be used on mobile devices which are revolutionizing the way dermoscopy is offered to make it more inclusive for patients. The benefits of portability, ease of use and the strong imaging capabilities of modern phone cameras turn these devices into excellent tools for patients to actively participate in regular check ups of their skin health.
Similarly, the advances in mobility also extend to the use of proprietary software in mobile applications that allow to easily store all images for further analysis. Complemented with these dermatology imaging apps, mobile dermoscopes are becoming a great ally for patients to be on the frontline of combating skin cancer.
2. Mobile dermoscopy for patient self-examination
Self-examination has proved to be a great method to improve skin cancer early detection leading to enhanced survival rates.2 Patients have access to freely image spots that seem suspicious and share them with a dermatologist (if services are available in their region) who will provide professional feedback.
To this respect, the development of modern cloud-based electronic medical record (EMR) software has been crucial. Intelligent dermatology platforms such as DermEngine are designed to seamlessly connect with the associated imaging apps to securely access dermoscopic images in need of professional evaluation. Operating under the SaaS model, real-time connectivity plays a vital role in establishing straightforward communication between patients and doctors for identifying spots which might represent a threat. Given the high probabilities of successfully treating skin cancer if discovered at its early stages, the impact on survival rates can be enormous.
Patient empowerment through mobile dermoscopy represents the next trend in dermatology. Patient-oriented dermoscopy imaging can prevent wasted time on long appointment waiting lists while empowering them with the freedom to be actively involved in their skin care plan. Similarly, for doctors it proves to be an effective solution for shortening diagnostic processes without sacrificing accuracy while allowing them to focus on supporting patients as their main priority.
As dermatology practices continue to evolve, the role that dermoscopy plays will continue to grow. Realistically, this powerful non-invasive methodology is currently contributing to the vast majority of skin cancer diagnosis for in-clinic as well as teledermatology practices. The power of mobile dermoscopes has been proved as a tool for doctors and is now shifting towards empowering patients to take an active role in their skin care. As dermoscopic self-examinations become standard, the true power of dermoscopic analysis will reaffirm its potential to save even more lives through the increased early detection of skin cancer.
Topics: Dermoscopy Skin Cancer Mobile Dermoscopes Digital Dermoscopy Dermoscope Dermatoscope Dermatology EMR Dermatology Software Dermatoscopy Mobile Dermoscope Mobile Dermoscopy SaaS Skin Imaging System