-The MetaOptima Team
Skin cancer is a problem that affects us all, with one in seven Canadians developing a form of the condition within their lifetime.1 In spite of the widely recognized importance of prevention and early detection, the rates of melanoma continue to increase. Overwhelmed with cases while facing a profession shortage, dermatologists are struggling to keep up with the race against time because skin cancer doesn’t wait.
The Status Of Skin Cancer
Unfortunately, a widespread dermatologist shortage across North America has resulted in patients experiencing typical wait times of over six months with even longer periods for the 40% of the population in rural/under-served areas.2 As a result, patients are seriously delayed in receiving the life-saving care they may require. To assist in offsetting this bottleneck, many primary care physicians are taking on a larger amount of dermatology cases. In fact, ~21% of cases reviewed by a general practitioner are dermatology-related.3 However, it is important to note that as many as 59% of these cases are still referred to a dermatologist, resulting in a disconnected healthcare system that leaves patients in the dark and medical professionals exhausted.4
Mobile Dermoscopy For Self-Imaging
As healthcare professionals, industry experts, and patients alike continue to search for a solution, many have turned to patient-oriented mobile dermoscopy. Surprisingly, statistics demonstrate that 70% of skin cancer cases are first discovered by the patient themselves or a loved one.5 As a result, medical professionals are advocating for providing patients with the tools to take skin imaging into their own hands.
With this method, patients are equipped with a mobile dermoscope designed to fit their smartphone or tablet. Connected to an associated app, patients can efficiently capture magnified images of their skin to be securely stored directly on the dermatology app for future reference. Additionally, apps such as MoleScope offer a teledermoscopy component where patients can submit an image directly to a dermatologist in their area for a consultation (if available in their region). The dermatologist will then receive the image through their connected dermatology EMR software for analysis and review, before submitting feedback to the patient.
The Benefits Of Mobile Dermoscopy For Skin Cancer Imaging
Entirely virtual, this refined process streamlines the consultation process so that the dermatologist’s time is limited to providing feedback to a patient case; unnecessary in-clinic appointments and imaging sessions are drastically reduced by as much as 40% so that the dermatologist may focus on more serious cases.6 Additionally, this two-way software allows dermatologists to view patient data such as notes, images, history, and diagnoses in a centralized location while having the option of referring more challenging cases to a colleague in their network for clearer communication.
Similarly, this method proves highly beneficial towards increasing patient engagement for greater education and vigilance in their care plan. As a result of this increased knowledge, may naturally be more likely to remain involved in their care plan. Additionally, this allows the patient to experience peace of mind and control regarding their health while wait times are drastically reduced, and transit times are eliminated (which is particularly beneficial for the elderly, those in rural communities or limited mobility).
In a decade where knowledge is prevalent but resources are limited, dermatologists are turning to patient-oriented mobile dermoscope. Proven to be highly beneficial for both sides, mobile dermoscopy allows patients to take skin imaging into their own hands for the early detection of melanoma and other serious conditions while streamlining and digitizing the care process for medical professionals to create an optimized system. A shining example of the future of healthcare, teledermatology and patient engagement will remain key in ensuring that all recipients are able to gain access to fast and quality care.
Topics: Dermatology Dermoscopy Skin Cancer Teledermatology Teledermatology Services Digital Dermoscopy Teledermoscopy Mobile Dermoscope Early Detection of Skin Cancer Mobile Dermoscopy Skin Cancer Early Detection Melanoma