1. How is teledermoscopy impacting dermatology services?
The following facts will look to shed light on the true power of this approach and how it helps in the fight against skin cancer.
- Ease of access: teledermoscopy can be practiced by any skin professional that can have access to a platform supporting the service. Cloud-based dermatology software such as DermEngine are able to securely connect with remote servers, allowing for the exchange and clinical analysis of dermoscopic images.
- Improvement of skin cancer diagnosis accuracy: the level of detail attained by teledermoscopy can have a much better insight in the potential malignancy of skin lesions. In fact, the use of MoleScope and other mobile dermoscopes can produce dermatology-quality imaging for further examination.
- Reduction of unnecessary biopsies: the higher degree of skin lesion observation obtained with teledermoscopy has allowed dermatologists to improve the accuracy in diagnosis the nature of such lesions without having to probe each of them with an invasive specimen extraction procedure for biopsy.
- Accessibility by a larger number of patients: the power of connectivity offered by the internet provides the opportunity for teledermoscopy services to reach a much larger range of patients. Realistically, any patient who has access to a stable internet connection and a mobile dermoscope like MoleScope is able to perform skin imaging and have them analyzed by a doctor via an online platform.
- Affordability: unlike past equipment specifically designed for use by professionals in clinical settings, the development of mobile dermoscopes has decreased costs substantially. Priced under $100, MoleScope is a great example of a highly sophisticated device with a powerful cost/benefit ratio.
Beyond the many points that can be in favour or against teledermoscopy, reality shows that this practice is becoming a much widespread option for practitioners. What’s more, the utility of remote connectivity adds another layer of value for patients living in dermatology underserved areas. Contrary to common knowledge, teledermoscopy is a practical, affordable and interactive alternative to in-clinic visits for the accurate diagnosis of melanoma. Five common myths about teledermoscopy will be presented in Part 2 of this article, and it will be discussed why a better understanding of this technique's potential will lead to a broader implementation in healthcare services.