Teledermatology Rising with Mobile Phones….Speeding Up with the Pandemic

  • Data from Spain over time has shown an increasing number of centers that are using teledermatology. At least 30% of hospitals now are using some form of teledermatology across the country, although there are multiple health regions with individual systems in use.
  • This is also the case in the UK experience, where increasing numbers of dermatologists have integrated teledermatology as part of their practice over several years.

A big thank you to Mobile Phones !

  • Any talk on teledermatology anywhere, would be incomplete without mentioning the mobile phone, the hallmark go digitization.
  • Whole sessions have been allocated on mobile teledermatology in previous World Congresses. Systems have been developed to use, or adapted to use, mobile apps…the reason being obvious; mobile phones are everywhere ! There are more phones in circulation than there are people.
  • Mobile phones:
    • are becoming bigger and better
    • have very good quality cameras.
    • can be connected to dermatoscopes.
    • have very good connectivity to the internet, security features.
    • can be used for all educational uses, such as courses on dermoscopy, reading of journals
    • can be used for monitoring, both by the doctors and also for patients, for example ‘MySkinSelfie’ for monitoring moles, as well as using apps with clinic tools, such as PASI scoring.
  • Making mobile technology safe:
    • Increasing use of mobile phones, particularly by junior doctors in hospitals taking images of patients, such that they could be used for monitoring or getting second opinions, became an issue such that we were concerned about the safety aspects.
    • This led to the development of UK guidance on the use of mobile phones for taking images of patients (LINK). Plenty of advice and actionable information are provided. However, much of this is outrdated taking images have secure image-transfer systems involved…however topics such as anonymization of images and picture storage are as relevant as ever.
    • The latter states the most important thing is that the images taken from patients are NOT to be held on the image itself. There are plenty of loopholes which we don’t control and other syncing with the cloud such as dropbox and iCloud that we do, but often don’t switch off.

Saul Halpern, MD. Teledermatology in Europe. 8th World Congress of Teledermatology, Skin Imaging and AI in Skin diseases – November 2020


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