Healthcast: Acne App

Today’s technology makes it easier to stay healthy and now a selfie can save you a trip to the doctor’s office. 

All you have to do is snap a photo of a mole, acne or rosacea, and let an app do the rest. 

Some doctors have their doubts. 

When Aileen Lopez Pugh needs to take her daughter, Olivia, to the dermatologist’s office, trying to find an appointment seems impossible. 

Now, an app could help. 

It’s called DermatologistOnCall and is just one of dozens of apps that promise to get skin problems diagnosed and treated within days, all without leaving the home. 

“Essentially a photograph is taken of a lesion and it’s stored online and then forwarded to the board certified dermatologist who will take a look at the case, render a diagnosis, provide a treatment plan and prescribe appropriate prescriptions,” Dr. Joanne Simpson, dermatologist, said. 

Dr. Simpson works with the DermatologistOnCall app. She said she reviews patient information on her smartphone, typically seeing conditions like acne, warts, athlete’s foot and rosacea. 

She is required to diagnose patients within 72 hours. 

Patients often have to wait days, if not weeks, to get an appointment. 

Dermatologist Dale Isascson said he’s concerned patients won’t get the follow up care they need and that pictures often don’t provide enough information. 

“Especially if the photograph is poor quality,” he said. “I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had patients email a photograph of their rash and I have one diagnosis when I see the photograph and I have a totally different diagnosis when they come in person.”

Dr. Simpson said she will recommend an office visit if she can’t make a firm diagnosis if the condition is serious. 

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