People often joke that it takes only a matter of seconds for a dermatologist to diagnose moles as being cancerous or benign. This is because a dermatologist’s eyes have been trained to be so discerning they can easily spot variations in mole size, shape, and color, then determine if these variations are a cause for concern. However, in many regions of the world, visiting a dermatologist is a luxury that can take months to plan. This becomes troublesome as most melanomas can be better diagnosed and treated the earlier they are discovered.
To help bridge this gap between patients and dermatologists Canadian healthcare technology company MetaOptima developed MoleScope, a new smartphone app for monitoring skin lesions.The app comes with a mini-microscope that is similar to a dermatologist’s dermascope. Patients can use the mini-microscope to take detailed photos of their moles and other skin lesions, then have the mole evaluated by a remote dermatologists. In a 2013 study, smartphone apps similar to MoleScope were found to have a 98% accuracy for diagnoses.The MoleScope will begin a pilot program on June 22, 2015 involving 10 different centers around the world. Dermatologists and general practitioners will use the app to create a more direct line of communication with patients who have a higher risk of skin cancer and melanoma.
Dermatologists caution that though these apps have value in diagnosis, they will not yet replace a doctor. Additionally, the FDA is still vague on how they will handle handle health apps. Nevertheless, the MoleScope is a step forward in communication between patient and doctor.
(Source: Popular Science)