Digital skin imaging applications, part I: Assessment of image acquisition technique features

ISIC Technique Working Group

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: The rapid adoption of digital skin imaging applications has increased the utilization of smartphone-acquired images in dermatology. While this has enormous potential for scaling the assessment of concerning skin lesions, the insufficient quality of many consumer/patient-taken images can undermine clinical accuracy and potentially harm patients due to lack of diagnostic interpretability. We aim to characterize the current state of digital skin imaging applications and comprehensively assess how image acquisition features address image quality. Materials and methods: Publicly discoverable mobile, web, and desktop-based skin imaging applications, identified through keyword searches in mobile app stores, Google Search queries, previous teledermatology studies, and expert recommendations were independently assessed by three reviewers. Applications were categorized by primary audience (consumer-facing, nonhospital-based practice, or enterprise/health system), function (education, store-and-forward teledermatology, live-interactive teledermatology, electronic medical record adjunct/clinical imaging storage, or clinical triage), in-app connection to a healthcare provider (yes or no), and user type (patient, provider, or both). Results: Just over half (57%) of 191 included skin imaging applications had at least one of 14 image acquisition technique features. Those that were consumer-facing, intended for educational use, and designed for both patient and physician users had significantly greater feature richness (p < 0.05). The most common feature was the inclusion of text-based imaging tips, followed by the requirement to submit multiple images and body area matching. Conclusion: Very few skin imaging applications included more than one image acquisition technique feature. Feature richness varied significantly by audience, function, and user categories. Users of digital dermatology tools should consider which applications have standardized features that improve image quality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)623-632
Number of pages10
JournalSkin Research and Technology
Volume28
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2022

Keywords

  • artificial intelligence
  • clinical imaging
  • digital tools
  • mobile applications
  • quality assurance
  • teledermatology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology

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