Application of smartphones in dermatology practice: a cross-sectional survey

Priya Prabhakaran Nair, Leela Manju


Background: Smartphones have revolutionised medical practice including dermatology because of its multiple functions assisting practitioners at the point of care and beyond. We aimed to analyse the pattern of smartphone use by dermatologists and to explore their opinions and difficulties faced while using smartphone

Methods: This cross-sectional study included a population of dermatology consultants and residents in Kerala, India. A validated self-reported questionnaire was emailed to them using a survey tool to collect the data

Results: Overall 100 practitioners responded to the questionnaire with a response rate 10.6%. Consultants and residents accounted for 81% and 19% of the participants respectively. Females (78%) outnumbered males. Most (58.6%) belonged to age group 31-40 years. Everyone owned a smartphone with the most prevalent operating system (OS) being android (85.9%). Medical communication was done mostly using phone calls (92%). Drug reference (94%) was the most popular noncommunicative application. Most participants (85%) used smartphone camera for clinical photography. OS freezing was the biggest technical issue whereas inappropriate use and distraction were the biggest nontechnical challenges of smartphone use. Clinical photography was taken by 95% for disease monitoring with significantly higher usage in females. Those upto 40 years of age significantly took and shared clinical photographs for second opinion more than older ones. Only 17.2% with significantly higher males than females took written consent for photography.

Conclusions: Dermatologists use smartphone extensively for communication, information and photography with preferences varying with age, gender and level of training.


Smartphone, Communication, Information, Photography, Challenges, Dermatology

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