A recent study found that teledermoscopy improved how well 87% of participants (non-medical professionals) examined their skin. An additional 94% stated that the dermatoscope was intuitive to use, and that 86% of were motivated to examine their skin more frequently.1
This research demonstrates that not only does the use of a dermoscope enhance the quality of skin exams, it also encourages a greater level of patient engagement in their skin health. Due to the early detection of skin cancer being crucial to survival rates (98% in early stages in contrast to 16% later on) this has immense potential to positively impact how the patient community views and manages skin cancer and their health.
The purpose of this study (by the USC Keck School of Medicine) was to compare the quality of patient outcomes for standard doctor visits in contrast to telehealth sessions. Researchers concluded that “people visiting a dermatologist online for treatment of psoriasis had the same or slightly better clinical outcomes as those visiting a doctor’s office [for psoriasis]”.2
Seeing as teledermatology is the same or slightly better for general dermatology cases, this will be an important step for providing care to the aging population. Since the 25% of the US population will be over the age of 65 by 2036 (and therefore with a greater risk of developing skin cancer) it is essential to provide a digital health solution that is accessible, streamlined and allows professionals to offer quality care.33. Patient Mobile Dermoscopy Is Highly Accurate
The final news story this article will discuss is the study which found patient-imaged smartphone photos allowed medical professionals to provide a telehealth diagnostic accuracy rate of 85%.4 Similarly, follow up research concluded that patients who were provided with a mobile dermoscope allowed dermatologists to manage these cases far more efficiently and quickly than standard referrals. These two points demonstrate not only the capabilities, but the efficacy and distinct possibility of patients being able to capture and send sufficient skin images from home.
This works in unison with previous research, which has already concluded that the use of a dermoscope increases diagnostic accuracy by ~35%. Although this research is an exciting step forward for the world for teledermoscopy software, it is important to note that this particular study was focused on pediatric general dermatology cases, and does not contribute to other common cases, such as melanoma.Conclusion
The teledermatology industry is growing at a rapid pace, with new and exciting stories about this technology’s development arising every day. Some of the latest studies have demonstrated the ability for mobile teledermoscopy to enhance or match the efficacy, diagnostic accuracy, and doctor-patient engagement for skin cancer cases and beyond. Seeing as ~90% of surveyed healthcare executives are developing/implementing a telemedicine program, this will have an immense impact on the way patients experience their care.
-The MetaOptima Team