First Derm’s founder, Dr. Alexander Börve, authored a teledermatology study that should change the way skin cancer patients are triaged worldwide. With 1,562 participants, this is the largest study of its kind to date. In the study, participants were seen in primary care clinics for diagnosis of suspicious skin lesions. If referral to a dermatologist was warranted, primary care practitioners sent referral notification to local dermatology clinics in two ways:
- For the control group (746 patients), physicians used paper referral forms and sent them through the regular channels.
- In the study group (816 patients), physicians used a dermoscope their iPhones to photograph lesions, completed a standardized query form, and sent both to the dermatology departments electronically.
The study’s most important findings include:
- When surgical treatment was required, the waiting time was significantly shorter using teledermoscopy for patients with skin cancer.
- Triage decisions were more reliable with teledermoscopy.
- Over 40% of the teledermoscopy patients could potentially have avoided face-to-face visits.
- The median time to diagnosis and treatment for all skin cancer types was significantly reduced using teledermoscopy.
- More patients referred via teledermoscopy were able to receive surgical treatment (when required) on their first face-to-face visit with a dermatologist.
For the physicians and developers of San Francisco-based First Derm™, an anonymous teledermatology app provided by iDoc24®, this study confirms what they already believed:
iDoc24® technology can streamline the triaging process, speeding the time to diagnosis and treatment for patients with skin worries, saving time, costs, and sometimes, lives.
In May, First Derm™ used the iDoc24® dermoscope to screen passersby for skin cancer in Dolores Park, San Francisco, in an effort to raise awareness of the dangers of skin cancer and the importance of early diagnosis and treatment. “In just two days, our team performed 99 screenings, finding 10 possible pre-cancerous lesions (i.e., actinic keratoses), 2 possible melanomas, and 1 possible basal cell carcinoma,” according to Dr. Alexander Börve, founder and CEO of the First Derm™ app and its parent company iDoc24®. “We’re proud to be raising awareness of the prevalence of skin cancers in the United States and the importance of early diagnosis, while developing innovative technology to improve triage times and clinical outcomes.”