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Telemedicine, the smartphone replaces the dermatological checkup

A photo with a smartphone to the skin problem is enough to get a medical report and avoid a dermatological checkup, according to an analysis by Jama Dermatology, looking at such an issue since in the United States there are less than 300 specialists for 75 million children

It happens in the United States: for 75 million children there are only 300 specialists in dermatology, although dermatological problems represent between 10 and 30 percent of the approximately 200 million annual pediatric checkups. Basically pretty a big deal.

This is precisely the reason that prompted JAMA Dermatology to carry out an empirical analysis that would allow us to establish the reliability of a diagnosis made remotely with the help of images sent from the parent of a child with skin problems, reaching very encouraging findings. It means that nowadays, the use of a smartphone could avoid an unnecessary examination that moreover would not be obtained in a short time. The analysis was conducted over a period of six months last year by the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia - the first pediatric hospital in the United States - on 40 families of patients. Only half of them received instruction sheets for photography; but almost all have sent high quality photographs that have allowed to provide a definitive remote diagnosis, and the matching with the diagnosis in person has reached up to 89%.

Patrick McMahon, author of the report, states that given the high number of pediatric checkup for dermatological problems, using this system can greatly improve access to specialist care by erasing geographical, temporal and financial borders and making it easier for millions of parents (20 to 60) to get a diagnosis living in a country where pediatric dermatologists running low.

Telemedicine is definitely on the rise: an IHS report has found that telemedicine will reach 7 million patients by 2018, while the American Well Telehealth index suggests that 50 million US consumers would switch from their current healthcare provider to one which offers telemedicine.

- originally published by L'Atelier BNP Paribas


24 November 2017
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