A prospective study of mobile phones for dermatology in a clinical setting

Jessika Weingast, Christian Scheibboeck, Elisabeth Wurm, Elisabeth Ranharter, Stefanie Porkert, Stephan Dreiseitl, Christian Posch, Michael Binder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


We evaluated the accuracy of diagnoses made from pictures taken with the built-in cameras of mobile phones in a 'real-life' clinical setting. A total of 263 patients took part, who photographed their own lesions where possible, and provided clinical information via a questionnaire. After the teledermatology procedure, each patient was examined face-to-face and a gold standard diagnosis was made. The telemedicine data and pictures were diagnosed by 15 dermatologists. The 299 cases contained 1-22 clinical images each (median 3). Nine dermatologists finished all the cases and the remaining six completed some of them, thus providing 2893 decisions. Overall, 61% of all cases were rated as possible to diagnose and of those, 80% were correct in comparison with the face-to-face diagnosis. Image quality was evaluated and the median was 5 on a 10-point scale. There was a significant correlation between the correct diagnosis and the quality of the photographs taken (P < 0.001). In nearly two-thirds of all cases, a teledermatology diagnosis was possible; however, there was insufficient information to make a telemedicine diagnosis in about one-third of the cases. If applied carefully, mobile phones could be a powerful tool for people to optimize their health care status.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)213-218
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Telemedicine and Telecare
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2013


  • Adult
  • Ambulatory Care Facilities
  • Austria/epidemiology
  • Cell Phone/statistics & numerical data
  • Dermatology/methods
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Outpatients
  • Photography
  • Prospective Studies
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Telemedicine/instrumentation


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