January 17, 2013

Inaccurate Diagnoses of Melanoma by Smartphone Apps Could Delay Doctor Visits

Smartphone applications that claim to evaluate a user's photographs of skin lesions for the likelihood of cancer instead returned highly variable and often inaccurate feedback, according to a study led by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

The findings, published in JAMA Dermatology, suggest that relying on these "apps" instead of consulting with a physician may delay the diagnosis of melanoma and timely, life-saving treatment. Cellular News reports.

quotemarksright.jpgSmartphone usage is rapidly increasing, and the applications available to consumers have moved beyond communication and entertainment to everything under the sun, including health care," said lead researcher Laura Ferris, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor, Department of Dermatology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. "These tools may help patients be more mindful about their health care and improve communication between themselves and their physicians, but it's important that users don't allow their 'apps' to take the place of medical advice and physician diagnosis.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article. Reaserch paper: Diagnostic Inaccuracy of Smartphone Applications for Melanoma Detection. Joel A. Wolf, BA; Jacqueline Moreau, BA; Oleg Akilov, MD; Timothy Patton, DO; Joseph C. English, MD; Jonhan Ho, MD; Laura K. Ferris, MD, PhD

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