Dermatology Apps No Substitute For a Real Doctor


Researchers looked at over 200 dermatology related apps available on various online stores and concluded that while helpful in some cases, they should be looked at very carefully by end users. “I am very hopeful that these applications will increase access to medical knowledge,” Dr. Robert Dellavalle, a dermatologist at the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Aurora, said.

Dellavalle, the lead researcher on this project, found that the apps fell into a couple of categories that included sunscreen recommendation guides, mole photo storage apps and tools meant to help diagnose melanoma. “The biggest concerns are people getting the wrong information,” Dellavalle said. Another category allows a patient to connect with a dermatologist for a remote visit. These so-called teledermatology apps are helpful in areas where dermatologists are scarce, but if a problem is noted, a patient will still need to be seen.

Many of these apps are free with other costing an average of $2.99. With the FDA now looking to regulate certain health-related apps, this should be a signal to people that while technology can be helpful when it comes to skin health, it is not a replacement for a trained medical professional.

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