Skin cancers

Patients willing to adopt new technology for skin checks


Australians are open to using mobile teledermoscopy to improve self-monitoring of skin lesions and early detection of melanoma.

According to an online survey of 88 adults, 21 of whom had previously had a melanoma removed, most (95%) would consider sending photos of their skin lesions to a medical practitioner via a mobile health app.

The perceived advantages included convenience and user-friendliness or a ‘quick and easy way of determining whether or not an in-person appointment is necessary’.

The study, published in Dermatology, reported that the patients who would not use mobile teledermoscopy had concerns it would not be as accurate as a face-to-face consultation.

Feedback from an additional focus group of 28 adults in Queensland confirmed that mobile teledermoscopy offered a convenient way of monitoring skin lesions and consulting with doctors between scheduled appointments.

They also identified that mobile teledermoscopy would provide options for people who were geographically isolated or had mobility issues preventing them travelling to appointments.

However there were perceived barriers to mobile teledermoscopy including technological issues with loading or updating apps or taking up too much valuable phone memory.

Consumers would also need instructions on how to take good-quality image and examples to help identify suspicious lesions.

“Participants would like to receive reminders to conduct skin self-examinations via push notifications. To be acceptable, the image-taking and sending process needs to be quick and uncomplicated,” the study said.

Most participants (75%) were not concerned by privacy or confidentiality issues and felt the likely benefits of the mobile teledermoscopy outweighed any risk of privacy breaches.

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