Study: Physicians successfully diagnose pediatric skin conditions using smartphone photos

Smartphone photographs provide a convenient avenue for direct parent-to-clinician teledermatology care, according to recent research published in JAMA Dermatology.

Researchers from the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and Philadelphia-based University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine recruited 40 patients and their families from the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia's pediatric dermatology clinic in mid-2016. The researchers evaluated whether pediatric dermatologists' diagnoses differed when provided with in-person examination or parent-submitted smartphone photographs of various skin conditions.

To assess the role of high-quality photographs, the researchers also offered half of parents a three-step instruction sheet on how to best photograph skin conditions with a smartphone.

The researchers determined physicians offered the same diagnoses during in-person and photograph-based consultations 83 percent of the time. Researchers also found the photography instructions given to patients' families had no significant effect on a pediatric dermatologist's ability to diagnose patients via photograph.

"Parent-operated smartphone photography can accurately be used as a method to provide pediatric dermatologic care," the study authors concluded.

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