Author Interviews, Dermatology, JAMA, Technology / 28.04.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Yun Liu, PhD Google Health Palo Alto, California MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Would you describe the system? Does it use dermatoscopic images? Response: Dermatologic conditions are extremely common and a leading cause of morbidity worldwide. Due to limited access to dermatologists, patients often first seek help from non-specialists. However, non-specialists have been reported to have lower diagnostic accuracies compared to dermatologists, which may impact the quality of care. In this study, we built upon prior work published in Nature Medicine, where we developed a computer algorithm (a deep learning system, DLS) to interpret de-identified clinical images of skin conditions and associated medical history (such as whether the patient reported a history of psoriasis). These clinical images are taken using consumer-grade hardware such as point-and-shoot cameras and tablets, which we felt was a more accessible and widely-available device compared to dermatoscopes. Given such images of the skin condition as input, the DLS outputs a differential diagnosis, which is a rank-ordered list of potential matching skin conditions. In this paper, we worked with user experience researchers to create an artificial intelligence (AI) tool based on this DLS. The tool was designed to provide clinicians with additional information per skin condition prediction, such as textual descriptions, similar-appearing conditions, and the typical clinical workup for the condition. We then conducted a randomized study where 40 clinicians (20 primary care physicians, 20 nurse practitioners) reviewed over 1,000 cases -- with half the cases with the AI-based assistive tool, and half the cases without. For each case, the reference diagnosis was based on a panel of 3 dermatologists. (more…)
Author Interviews, Dermatology, Surgical Research, Telemedicine, UT Southwestern / 05.12.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Rajiv Nijhawan MD Department of Dermatology The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center Dallas MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: From a healthcare perspective, we are constantly working to improve access to patients, and telemedicine has proved to be an excellent platform for this goal especially in the field of dermatology. In regards to surgical dermatology, the role of telemedicine has been limited. The ubiquity of smartphones with photograph capability has provided an opportunity for patients to take self-acquired photographs (selfies) easily. Our experience has been that few patients who call with post-operative concerns have major issues (e.g. infection, bleeding, etc.) while the majority of concerns are minor in nature, and patients are often seeking reassurance. Our study shows that the majority of concerns can easily be triaged and managed through patient-directed photography without burdening the patient to take time off work for another appointment, find transportation/travel (many of our patients travel hours for their visits), wait to see the provider, etc. This option of triaging a post-operative concern essentially immediately through the use of patient-directed photographs provides the opportunity for immediate feedback on the patient’s concerns and likely reduces anxiety while making the process as patient-centered as possible. In addition, it allows the physician to be as efficient as possible by not having to overbook his/her schedule to accommodate these often non-urgent concerns. (more…)