Technology is progressing at breakneck pace, from nanotechnology to stem cell research it is developing faster than most people can keep up with, and the health industry is no different. One of the best advancements in skin cancer detection in recent years has been telehealth.
What is telehealth?
Telehealth is the delivery of health information and health care using telecommunication and digital technologies. In other words telehealth services are websites, apps and online providers that help you get information, diagnoses and advice for skin cancer treatment without going to a doctor in person. Avoiding the doctor’s office is one of the biggest reasons for delayed diagnosis and treatment of skin cancer, so telehealth can really impact the early diagnosis of the disease and improve the rate of successful treatment.
What are some reasons why people might avoid going to a doctor for skin cancer?
For some people going to the doctor can be really difficult. Whether they can’t stand to go due to fear or simply can’t go due to their circumstances, many people find it difficult to make an appointment. Some of the most common reasons are:
- They are unsure of whether a spot is serious enough to warrant a visit. Many people feel a reluctance to waste their time or a doctor’s time with a trivial issue, so stave off going to the doctor until they believe they are sure they have an issue.
- They are embarrassed to go due to the location of the spot. Sometimes spots can manifest themselves in some pretty awkward locations, which makes some people too embarrassed to go to the doctor.
- They can’t go due to time or circumstance. Some people live extremely busy lives and believe they can’t stop for a visit to the doctor, or they might live in a relatively remote area of the country, which makes going to a doctor or a skin cancer clinic a serious inconvenience.
No matter the reason seeking timely medical advice at a clinic is still the best thing that anyone can do. If that is not an option then telehealth can provide some pretty powerful options for diagnosing health issues, particularly skin cancer.
How can telehealth improve skin cancer detection??
Helfie, a mobile app for skin cancer diagnosis, is one of the best examples of telehealth technologies available on the market today. Helfie works by providing a platform where users can submit photos of the potentially malignant spot through the app, which is then sent to a network of Australian doctors for diagnosis. Most cases get diagnosed promptly and users receive a reply within minutes. And all of this can take place at home, in the office or even in the middle of the desert!
Telehealth apps like Helfie have three major advantages:
- They are convenient. The greatest strength of telehealth apps are their convenience, they don’t require anything other than a phone and an internet connection, allowing almost anyone to get a diagnosis within minutes.
- They don’t require face to face interaction. For people who are shy, or have a spot that they consider embarrassing, then something like the Helfie app can allow them to get a diagnosis without having to face a doctor at all.
- They are inexpensive. A diagnosis through an app like Helfie costs only a couple of dollars, so it is accessible to everyone for the price of a coffee!
This type of convenient and inexpensive care can make diagnosing skin cancer much simpler, allowing us to diagnose skin cancer issues in the comfort of our homes, without the trouble of going to a doctor. With time these types of telehealth options will become much more common and more accessible, allowing us to receive care in our own time, on our own terms.