Development of a Mobile Teledermatology System

Telemedicine and e-Health. November 2012, 18(9): 668-673. doi:10.1089/tmj.2011.0273. Rolf-Dietrich Berndt, Mbusa Claude Takenga, Sebastian Kuehn, Petra Preik, Daniel Dubbermann, and Michael Juenger.

Objective: The increasing number of elderly and chronically ill patients is currently stressing healthcare systems. One of the solutions for reaching an economically and socially viable solution is exploiting the benefits of modern technologies. This article presents an innovative mobile teledermatology program for assisting both the therapy and the aftercare of patients suffering from skin diseases.

Subjects and Methods: The system is based on store-and-forward teledermatology and consists of two main components: (1) an application implemented on the mobile phone in order to enable patients to transmit both skin image data and biofeedback information and (2) an online portal for the care providers. The key idea is to ensure a sufficient involvement of the patients in the therapy process and to motivate them through their active cooperation.

Results: Smartphone applications with features as well as the online Web-based portal for medical care providers are presented. The entire system is embedded on a secure telematics platform. The system was tested at the Clinic for Skin Diseases of the University of Greifswald, Greifswald, Germany, by patients with skin diseases such as ulcus cruris, postoperative wound documentation, eczema, psoriasis, and pemphigus for a period of 1 year. Medical care providers could also analyze patients' data from the developed online Web-based application during that test period.

Conclusions: Positive feedback from both medical care providers and patients confirms a high potential for mobile teledermatology as a means of dermatological healthcare delivery.

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