Navigation Links
Inaccurate diagnoses of melanoma by smartphone apps could delay doctor visits, life-saving treatment
Date:1/16/2013

PITTSBURGH, Jan. 16, 2013 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 and available online today, suggest that relying on these "apps" instead of consulting with a physician may delay the diagnosis of melanoma and timely, life-saving treatment.

"Smartphone 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."

In fact, the study found that three out of the four smartphone applications tested incorrectly diagnosed 30 percent or more melanomas as "unconcerning" based on their evaluation of user images.

The study, funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the University of Pittsburgh Clinical and Translational Science Institute, reviewed applications available in the two most popular smartphone platforms and found that such tools often are marketed to nonclinical users to help them decide, using a digital image for analysis, whether or not their skin lesions are potential melanomas or otherwise concerning, or if they likely are benign. Researchers uploaded 188 images of skin lesions to each of the four applications, which then analyzed the images in different ways, including automated algorithms and images reviewed by an anonymous board-certified dermatologist. The applications often are available for free or at a very low cost, and are not subject to any regulatory oversight or validation.

Only the application that utilized dermatologists for a personal review of user images, essentially functioning as a tool to facilitate teledermatology, provided a high degree of sensitivity in diagnosis - just one of the 53 melanomas was diagnosed as "benign" by the experts reading the images. This application also was the most expensive, costing users $5 per image evaluation. Although the tools included disclaimers stating they were providing information for educational purposes only, researchers noted the risk that patients might rely on the application's evaluation rather than seek the advice of a medical professional.

The likelihood of relying on the application's free or low-cost evaluation is particularly concerning for the uninsured or economically disadvantaged, especially because a substantial number of melanomas are first detected by patients, noted the study authors. "If they see a concerning lesion but the smartphone app incorrectly judges it to be benign, they may not follow up with a physician," said Dr. Ferris. "Technologies that decrease the mortality rate by improving self- and early-detection of melanomas would be a welcome addition to dermatology. But we have to make sure patients aren't being harmed by tools that deliver inaccurate results."


'/>"/>

Contact: Carrie Stevenson
BeckerC@upmc.edu
412-586-9778
University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Websites Touting Designer Vagina Surgeries Often Inaccurate, Study Finds
2. All-they-can-eat diet for lab mice and rats may foster inaccurate test results
3. 2 new vitamin D blood tests are often highly inaccurate, researchers say
4. Electronic visits offer accurate diagnoses, may lead to overprescribing of antibiotics
5. UMass Amherst chemists develop nose-like sensor array to smell cancer diagnoses
6. Missed Diagnoses in ICU Often Have Deadly Results: Review
7. Johns Hopkins team finds ICU misdiagnoses may account for as many annual deaths as breast cancer
8. Dr. Davis Announces Some Diagnoses of ADHD May be Misinterpreted Visual Problems: Could Be Treated with Vision Therapy
9. Drug-resistant melanoma tumors shrink when therapy is interrupted
10. Indication of considerable added benefit of vemurafenib in advanced melanoma
11. New screening approach identified potential drug combos for difficult-to-treat melanomas
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/25/2016)... TX (PRWEB) , ... June 25, 2016 , ... Austin ... of the American College of Mohs Surgery and to Dr. Russell Peckham for medical ... and highly effective treatment for skin cancer. The selective fellowship in Mohs Micrographic Surgery ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... , ... "With 30 hand-drawn hand gesture animations, FCPX users can easily customize ... Pixel Film Studios. , ProHand Cartoon’s package transforms over 1,300 hand-drawn pictures into ... Simply select a ProHand generator and drag it above media or text in the ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... As a lifelong Southern Californian, Dr. Omkar Marathe ... from the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. He trained in Internal Medicine ... his fellowship in hematology/oncology at the UCLA-Olive View-Cedars Sinai program where he had the ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... 25, 2016 , ... On Friday, June 10, Van Mitchell, Secretary of the ... to iHire in recognition of their exemplary accomplishments in worksite health promotion. , The ... Health & Wellness Symposium at the BWI Marriott in Linthicum Heights. iHire was one ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... A recent article ... are unfamiliar with. The article goes on to state that individuals are now more ... these less common operations such as calf and cheek reduction. The Los Angeles area ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... and INDIANAPOLIS , June 23, ... a Lilly Diabetes Tomorrow,s Leaders Scholarship is any indication, ... winners, announced today online at www.diabetesscholars.org by ... 1 diabetes stand in the way of academic and ... the Foundation,s scholarship program since 2012, and continues to ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... Revolutionary technology includes multi-speaker listening to conquer ... in advanced audiology and hearing aid technology, has today ... world,s first internet connected hearing aid that opens up ...      (Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20160622/382240 ) , ... , TwinLink™ - the first dual communication ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... The vast majority of dialysis patients currently ... are usually 3 times a week, with treatment times ... time, equipment preparation and wait time.  This regimen can ... patients who are elderly and frail.  Many elderly dialysis ... centers for some duration of time. Residents ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: