Firstcheck’s teledermatology technology has been chosen for a public health study looking into the improved diagnosis and management of scabies.
University of Auckland public health researcher Dr Simon Thornley has launched a study to investigate the use of Firstcheck’s smartphone app, smartphone dermoscope and teledermoscopy platform to help detect scabies.
The study involves reasearchers from The University of Auckland, Auckland Regional Public Health Service, Counties Manukau District Health Board and the Waikato District Health Board.
“From a clinical viewpoint, scabies is relatively straightforward to treat once diagnosed,” Dr Thornley said.
“The challenge is accurate diagnosis, as studies show that scabies is infrequently recognised by primary care physicians and is frequently misdiagnosed, which leads to further transmission of the mite and institutional outbreaks.”
“We are focused on improving scabies control because our research has shown it is associated with rheumatic fever and chronic rheumatic heart disease.”
“We could do a lot better in the health sector to recognise and control the disease.”
Definitive diagnosis of scabies is made by microscopic identification of the scabies mite or their eggs.
The Firstcheck platform, which was originally developed as a cost-effective way to check for skin cancers, consists of a smartphone dermatoscope to take highly magnified photos of the area of concern and a smartphone app that sends the photos directly to a doctor.
Firstcheck founder, Hayden Laird, said identifying and preventing the spread of skin diseases such as scabies was a natural extension of the technology’s capabilities.
“Using the powerful cameras in smart phones, secure software applications, smartphone camera attachments – and clever doctors at the other end – Firstcheck’s technology can help diagnose a range of skin conditions and help streamline healthcare delivery,” Mr Laird said.
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