San Francisco (PRWEB) March 14, 2014
Researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, on February 27, 2014, released a study finding substantial diagnostic agreement between teledermatologists and in-person dermatologists. For the physicians and developers of First Derm, an anonymous teledermatology app provided by iDoc24, this study confirms their opinion that it’s possible for patients to receive quality health information from board-certified specialists that is relatively inexpensive and as convenient as snapping a selfie.
Published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the study involved the evaluation of 50 patients by an in-person dermatologist and 2 teledermatologists to determine whether patients needed same-day appointments, biopsies, or could treat their conditions with over-the-counter medications. In-person dermatologists agreed with teledermatologists on same-day triage decisions 90 percent of the time. If the in-person dermatologist recommended biopsy, teledermatologists agreed with the decision 95 percent of the time. The University of Pennsylvania researchers conclude that teledermatology can be a reliable means of triaging patients, decreasing trips to hospitals and clinics while optimizing time spent in the clinic.
“When you consider the time it takes to call for an appointment, see your internist for a referral to dermatology, and then wait several weeks for that appointment,” explains First Derm founder and CEO Dr. Alexander Börve, “an app like First Derm can save both money and hassle. We know moms are busy. Our aim is to connect you with a dermatologist who can provide guidance on what to do next with your skin problems – within 24 hours.”
In a First Derm consultation, customers use their smartphones to capture and send pictures and written descriptions of their skin conditions and symptoms anonymously. A board-certified dermatologist reviews each case, and recommends either over-the-counter treatments available at most pharmacies or an in-person consultation with a health care provider. There’s no sign-up, no registration, and no collection of personal information. First Derm is completely anonymous: just snap your selfie and receive customized medical information in two clicks.
First Derm dermatologists have reviewed over 4,000 cases since the app launched in 2013. Of those cases, 70 percent were able to self-treat with an over-the-counter medication and 30 percent were advised to see a family doctor or dermatologist in person for further testing, diagnosis, and treatment. For the cost of a co-pay ($39.99 per case), users are able to save valuable time scheduling appointments, taking time away from work, and potential embarrassment about intimate issues. Many users come away with a sense of relief in addition to medical information.
Over 80 percent of Internet users take to medical information sites, such as WebMD, to attempt to self-triage. First Derm takes the anxiety and guesswork out of the search for medical information. “I received a reassuring and detailed reply within a couple of hours from a respected dermatologist,” according to one user. “I got confirmation of the diagnosis from a family doctor and the advice I received from this app was spot on."