Skin Exam

Evaluate the use of a mobile application (app) in patients already using total body photography (TBP) to increase skin self-examination (SSE) rates and pilot the effectiveness of examination reminders and accountability partners.

Andrew Marek, MD, MS
Principal Investigator
Emily Y. Chu, MD, PhD
Investigator

Aim

The aim of this study was to evaluate the use of a mobile application (app) in patients already using total body photography (TBP) to increase skin self-examination (SSE) rates and pilot the effectiveness of examination reminders and accountability partners.

Intervention and Design

Enrolled 69 patients aged 18 years or older with an iPhone/iPad, who were already in possession of TBP photographs.

Intervention - A mobile app loaded with digital TBP photos for all participants, and either (1) the mobile app only, (2) skin examination reminders, (3) an accountability partner, or (4) reminders and an accountability partner.

Main Measure - Change in SSE rates as assessed by enrollment and end-of-study surveys 6 months later.

Way to Health Use

  • Study Enrollment: Enroll and randomize participants in the study

  • Message Reminders: Automated message reminders sent through text to participants

  • Support Partners: Provide support partners to encourage participants and reinforce good behaviors

Findings and Conclusions

Eighty one patients completed informed consent, however 12 patients did not complete trial enrollment procedures due to device incompatibility, leaving 69 patients who were randomized and analyzed [mean age 54.3 years, standard deviation 13.9). SSE rates increased significantly from 58% at baseline to 83% at 6 months (odds ratio 2.64, 95% confidence interval 1.20-4.09), with no difference among the intervention groups. The group with examination reminders alone had the highest (94%) overall satisfaction, and the group with accountability partners alone accounted for the lowest (71%).

A mobile app alone, or with reminders and/or accountability partners, was found to be an effective tool that can help to increase SSE rates. Skin examination reminders may help provide a better overall experience for a subset of patients.

Publications


Piloting the Use of Smartphones, Reminders, and Accountability Partners to Promote Skin Self-Examinations in Patients with Total Body Photography: A Randomized Controlled Trial