Use of the mobile phone multimedia messaging service for teledermatology

J Telemed Telecare. 2012 Jul;18(5):292-6. doi: 10.1258/jtt.2012.120206. Epub 2012 Jul 16.


We examined the feasibility of using mobile phone Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) to send teledermatology referrals from a general practitioner to a dermatologist. Digital photographs of skin conditions in 40 consecutive patients were sent together with relevant clinical information to dermatologists at a university hospital. Two dermatologists separately assessed the MMS referrals. The suspected diagnosis, triage and management decisions were compared to those given after separate face-to-face (FTF) visits, and again after agreeing on a final clinical and/or histopathological diagnosis. Thirty-two patients (80%) were diagnosed with skin tumours and 8 patients (20%) with other skin conditions. Both dermatologists were able to make a correct diagnosis in 31 patients (78%) based solely on the MMS referral. They also provided adequate management recommendations for 98% of the patients. Adequate triage decisions after assessment of the MMS referrals were made for 34 (85%) and 38 (95%) patients by the two dermatologists. There was an inter-observer concordance of 68% for the teledermatology diagnosis, compared to 88% concordance after the separate FTF visits. The diagnostic accuracy and adequacy of the triage and management decisions achieved using MMS referrals were similar to those obtained with other store-and-forward teledermatology methods.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cell Phone*
  • Dermatology / methods*
  • Dermatology / standards
  • Diagnostic Errors / statistics & numerical data
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multimedia*
  • Observer Variation
  • Remote Consultation / methods*
  • Remote Consultation / standards
  • Skin Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Young Adult