As the rates of skin cancer continue to rise in Canada, many family physicians have become the front line of defense for the early detection of these cases.1 Unfortunately, GPs have less experience detecting cancerous lesions than their dermatologist counterparts. How can dermoscopy tools provide a solution to this growing dissonance?
Research demonstrates that the early detection of skin cancer is directly related to survival rates. Therefore, since GPs and family physicians are the most widely accessible medical professionals to patients (in contrast to dermatologists, dermoscopists or skin cancer specialists) they are naturally the first medical professional patients will visit in regards to the early detection of these cases.
Early Detection Of Skin Cancer In Standard Clinics
Unfortunately, due to the fact that family physicians deal with a wide variety of conditions on a daily basis, they review far fewer numbers of cancerous cases (in comparison to those that specialize in a skin cancer or dermatology practice). Therefore, there is a greater risk for cases to be misdiagnosed, thus causing unnecessary biopsies or having cancerous lesions go undetected until a much later stage.
A popular solution to address this concern is the adoption of dermoscopy tools by physicians in their daily practice, with research suggesting that diagnostic accuracy increases by as much as 35% with the use of a dermatoscope. Viewed as affordable, portable, and non-invasive, dermoscopy tools are an excellent solution to address the required support of physicians in their practice.
However, dermoscopy alone is not a perfect answer. Research demonstrates that although utilizing a dermoscope drastically increases efficacy, many professionals are hesitant to adopt it into their practice primarily due to required training times, or fear of additional work to an already overloaded schedule.
Recently, dermatology clinic management software such as DermEngine have introduced tools targeted towards supporting medical professionals with their clinical decisions. Rightfully named Visual Search, this feature dives into its library of tens of thousands of pre-labelled pathology dermoscopic images to extract ones that are the most visually similar to the submitted case.
From here, the physician will receive valuable statistics relating to the top diagnoses and risk of malignancy of those visually similar cases while having the opportunity to compare the visual features of a current lesion to past images that appear to be visually similar. By equipping medical professionals with this practice management educational resource, they are empowered to receive a greater level of support during their work while gaining confidence in their clinical decisions.
An additional bonus to implementing DermEngine is that this intelligent dermatology software solution comes with a wide variety of features standard in all plans to support the practices of a wide variety of medical professionals. As an example, the built in teledermoscopy software creates a valuable patient portal for patients to submit dermoscopic images to their doctor, while users have the opportunity to receive an additional source of revenue, digitally manage patient files, and maintain their practice in a single, centralized solution.
Dermoscopy is proving to no longer be the only valuable tool for dermatologists. Only two dermoscopy resources reviewed are the use of mobile dermoscopes such as MoleScope II, and utilizing clinical decision support tools such as DermEngine’s Visual Search. As the rates of skin cancer continue to rise while a dermatologist shortage continues, it is essential that family physicians and GPs are equipped with the latest tools to support them in the early detection of skin cancers to optimize patient outcomes, potentially saving lives.
-The MetaOptima Team
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