What if you want to know NOW what that scary lesion is on your arm, or how long you should wait before getting that mole removed from your shoulder? If you live somewhere like me, your only option is to go to your local doctor, and hope they have some knowledge of dermatology. If not, it could be months before you get an appointment with a specialist: that's a lot of time to scare yourself stiff with Google searches.
The British Journal of Dermatology claim that up to 90% of all skin problems can be successfully diagnosed using medical photo analysis, and GoDerma is a new app that allows you to simply upload a photo of your skin disorder, and get an answer within 48 hours from a trained German specialist. It costs just $39 per request, and is currently available for the iPhone.
In order to give an accurate diagnosis, the app asks a few simple questions about the skin disorder: firstly if it's a rash (redness, rash, spots), mole (mole, birthmark, tumour) or other (warts, fungus, nail problem etc).
In the case of a mole, it asks if it's crusty, or itchy, elevated or bleeds, as well as how long you've had it for, if it's changed recently, and the size.
In the case of a rash, it asks for another photograph, from a greater distance to see the pattern of the rash, and asks for any additional symptoms like fever, exhaustion, or if it itches, or weeps etc.
GoDerma app to diagnose a skin disorder
Some of my initial fears around the app were about misdiagnosis: no one
wants to miss a meningitis diagnosis, but it's clear they ask for enough information to determine whether or not their diagnosis is sufficient, as well as state that this does not replace an in person doctor visit.
It's a nice addition to First Opinion, an app to connect parents with doctors for one-on-one virtual text chat. Both apps are anonymous so they are HIPAA compliant.
Apps may never replace in person visits, but they
can be used as an initial screening device, to assess whether or not you
should make an appointment. They also address a huge segment of the population who are scared about their
physical health, but too embarrassed to go to the doctor *again*. I'm
convinced us hypochondriacs will always keep these guys in business.
Download GoDerma and give it a spin here.