App offers way to diagnose skin problems

Patients can take photos of area of concern, send to doctors electronically

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. - A new iPhone app that can help diagnose skin problems without even going to the doctor's office.

As a lifelong South Floridian, Frank Don has been exposed to a lifetime of sun. While he goes to great lengths to protect his skin, he was concerned about a dark spot on his face.

"Taking care of myself and just making sure it's not more than just an aesthetic mark on my cheek," said Don.

Don said his iPhone helped him find the answer.

An app developed by a South Florida dermatologist, in collaboration with a medical software company, allowed Don to take a picture of the area on his cheek and send it to the doctor.

"Medicine in general is changing and with the use of all these handheld devices, we have to improve the way we see patients and the way patients get to us," said dermatologist Dr. Martin Zaiac.

With that in mind, Zaiac customized a unique skin app for his practice.

"Sometimes, things don't happen all the time," said Zaiac. "They go away, they reoccur and at least with this, we'll have something on record."

The information is integrated into a new electronic medical records system that creates individual patient portals.

"With this device, you can move it around to get it around and through the patient portal," said Zaiac. "We're going to get the picture of his nevus."

Don learned that his mole warrants close monitoring, but needed no immediate action.

"This gives me the piece of mind that the ball is rolling on it and it's getting assessed," said Don.

Currently, the app is only available for iPhone, but it's coming soon to other smart phones. A doctor must have the app custom made for patients.

A gadget you can also add to it is a camera that allows you to take an even better image of an area of concern.

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