Bringing photos to dermatology appointments can help

Bringing photos to dermatology appointments can help

More patients are bringing pictures of their skin problems to their dermatologists and this helps the doctors better observe the progression and potentially diagnose the condition, according to a new French study, Reuters reports.


The authors, a group of skin experts in France, found that almost two-thirds of patients brought pictures with them to appointments for urticaria or hives.


As the authors say, sometimes skin conditions come and go, so having confirmed photography helps clinicians assess conditions.


Clinical photography has grown enormously since the advent of smartphones,” said Martin Li of the University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire in the United Kingdom, who wasn’t involved with the study.


Lesions may disappear by the time of the appointment


For the study, members of the Urticaria Group of the French Dermatological Society surveyed 311 patients who had appointments for hives in 2017.


Photographs could be particularly important for skin concerns, not only because lesions may disappear by the time a patient can get an appointment, but also because they could change due to scratching or other treatments, the study authors wrote.


Patients said they took photographs because they worried they wouldn’t have any lesions to show once they were able to make the appointment, and about a third said their flare-up was more severe than usual.

Doctors rated the majority of the pictures as “good” and helpful during diagnosis.


No special apps 


Most patients don’t use special apps for this purpose; instead, most “still capture dermatological information by taking pictures of their skin lesion with their smartphone,” said Dr. Thomas Hubiche of Centre Hospitalier Intercommunal de Frejus Saint Raphael in Frejus, France. 


Photos in healthcare


Photos in healthcare are becoming increasingly used as ways to improve diagnoses and treatment,” said Elizabeth Krupinski of the Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia. Krupinski, who wasn’t involved with this study, has researched how radiologists use photographs.