Mobile teledermoscopy-there's an app for that!

Dermatol Pract Concept. 2013 Apr 30;3(2):41-8. doi: 10.5826/dpc.0302a05. Print 2013 Apr.


Background: The introduction of the smartphone with high-quality, built-in digital cameras and easy-to-install software may make it more convenient to perform teledermatology. In this study we looked at the feasibility of using a smartphone (iPhone 4(®)) with an installed application especially developed for teledermatology (iDoc24(®)) and a dermoscope (FotoFinder Handyscope(®)) that is customized to attach to the smartphone to be able to carry out mobile teledermoscopy.

Objectives: To study the diagnostic accuracy of this mobile teledermoscopy solution, to determine the interobserver concordance between teledermoscopists (TDs) and a dermatologist meeting the patient face-to-face (FTF), and to assess the adequacy of the TDs' management decisions and to evaluate the image quality obtained.

Patients/methods: During a 16-week period, patients with one or more suspicious skin lesions deemed to need a biopsy or excision were included. The smartphone app was used to send a clinical image, a dermoscopy image and relevant clinical information to a secure Internet platform (Tele-Dermis(®)). Two TDs assessed the incoming cases, providing a specific primary diagnosis and a management decision. They also graded the image quality. The histopathological diagnosis was used as the gold standard.

Results: Sixty-nine lesions were included. The FTF dermatologist's diagnostic accuracy was 66.7%, which was statistically higher than TD 1 (50.7%, P=0.04) but similar to TD 2 (60.9%, P=0.52). The interobserver concordances between the FTF dermatologist and the two TDs and between the respective TDs showed moderate to substantial agreement. The TDs provided adequate management decisions for 68 (98.6%) and 69 (100%) lesions, respectively. The image quality was rated as excellent or sufficient in 94% and 84% of the cases by the respective TDs.

Conclusion: This novel mobile teledermoscopy solution may be useful as a triage tool for patients referred to dermatologists for suspicious skin lesions.

Keywords: malignant melanoma; mobile teledermoscopy; non-melanoma skin cancer; smartphone application; teledermatology.