Mobile applications in dermatology

Ann Chang Brewer, Dawnielle C Endly, Jill Henley, Mahsa Amir, Blake P Sampson, Jacqueline F Moreau, Robert P Dellavalle
JAMA Dermatology 2013, 149 (11): 1300-4

IMPORTANCE: With advancements in mobile technology, cellular phone-based mobile applications (apps) may be used in the practice and delivery of dermatologic care.

OBJECTIVE: To identify and categorize the variety of current mobile apps available in dermatology for patients and providers.

DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: Dermatology-related search terms were queried in the online app stores of the most commonly used mobile platforms developed by Apple, Android, Blackberry, Nokia, and Windows. Applications were assigned to categories based on description. Popularity, price, and reviews were recorded and target audiences were determined through websites offering online mobile apps.

MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: Number, type, and price of mobile apps in dermatology.

RESULTS: A total of 229 dermatology-related apps were identified in the following categories: general dermatology reference (61 [26.6%]), self-surveillance/diagnosis (41 [17.9%]), disease guide (39 [17.0%]), educational aid (20 [8.7%]), sunscreen/UV recommendation (19 [8.3%]), calculator (12 [5.2%]), teledermatology (8 [3.5%]), conference (6 [2.6%]), journal (6 [2.6%]), photograph storage/sharing (5 [2.2%]), dermoscopy (2 [0.9%]), pathology (2 [0.9%]), and other (8 [3.5%]). The most reviewed apps included Ultraviolet ~ UV Index (355 reviews), VisualDx (306), SPF (128), iSore (61), and SpotMole (50). There were 209 unique apps, with 17 apps existing on more than 1 operating system. More than half of the apps were offered free of charge (117 [51.1%]). Paid apps (112 [48.9%]) ranged from $0.99 to $139.99 (median, $2.99). Target audiences included patient (117 [51.1%]), health care provider (94 [41.0%]), and both (18 [7.9%]).

CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: The widespread variety and popularity of mobile apps demonstrate a great potential to expand the practice and delivery of dermatologic care.

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