September 26, 2013
1 min read

Dermatology-related mobile apps varied, popular

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Dermatology-specific mobile applications for smartphones, ranging from sunscreen recommendations to skin self-surveillance, are diverse and widely popular, according to recent study results.

Researchers on July 12-13 conducted a query of publicly available dermatology-related mobile apps through app store platforms supported by Apple, Android, Blackberry, Nokia and Windows. Descriptive categories were used to assign applications. The apps’ popularity, price and reviews were included, with target audiences determined by which websites offered the apps.

There were 229 dermatology-related apps identified. Categories included general dermatology reference (n=61 apps, 26.6%), self-surveillance/diagnosis (n=41, 17.9%), disease guide (n=39, 17%), education aid (n=20, 8.7%), sunscreen/UV recommendation (n=19, 8.3%), calculator (n=12, 5.2%), teledermatology (n=8, 3.5%), conference (n=6, 2.6%), journal (n=6, 2.6%), photograph storage/sharing (n=5; 2.2%), dermoscopy (n=2; 0.9%), pathology (n=2; 0.9%) and other (n=8, 3.5%).

Ultraviolet-UV Index, in the sunscreen/UV category, was the most reviewed app (n=355), followed by VisualDx (n=306), SPF (n=128), iSore (n=61) and SpotMole (n=50).

One hundred seventeen apps were free (51.1%), while 112 paid apps were priced from 99 cents to $139.99. Medical textbooks were the most expensive apps. Patients were the largest target audience (51.1%), followed by health care providers (41%) and both patients and health care providers (7.9%).

“New mobile apps are developed daily, offering a wide array of tools for health care professionals, as well as for the general public,” the researchers concluded. “As our technological growth continues, the widespread use of mobile apps is likely to play an increasingly sophisticated role in dermatology. We … recognize both the potential benefit and inherent risk in their use for the management of skin disease. Additional investigation may be required to further elucidate the extent of mobile app use among dermatologists and patients.”

Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.