Virtual Dermatoscope is an interactive app produced by Cardiff University, aimed at clinicians with some dermoscopy knowledge.
Dermoscopy requires a high-quality magnifying lens that can help with examining skin structures and patterns.
It can aid the diagnosis of skin lesions, but requires appropriate training. In primary care, dermoscopy can be helpful to identify benign and premalignant skin lesions, which may in turn help to reduce referrals to secondary care.
Available from Cardiff University - download free for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch
GP rating 5 OUT OF 5
Virtual Dermatoscope was originally designed to accompany the Introduction to Dermoscopy course, organised by Cardiff University. This online course aims to develop clinicians' competence in dermoscopy.
The app was released in May 2012 and is free to download. It is compatible with the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.
Virtual Dermatoscope allows for a skin lesion, such as an erythematous lesion on a patient's leg, a pigmented skin lesion on the abdomen and pigmentation of a fingernail of recent onset, to be selected. The corresponding clinical image can then be enlarged and closely viewed.
There is a quiz to assess dermoscopic features that may be present. For example, symmetry, uniformity, vascular morphology and pattern, as well as distribution of pigment, may be appreciated using dermoscopy.
After the quiz, the photograph can be reviewed, with dermoscopic features clearly annotated. This leads to a screen showing the diagnosis.
The app has an attractive interface that is easy to use. It could be helpful in clinical practice and for continuing professional development. The photographs are excellent.
It would be helpful if more clinical information about the conditions accompanied each case and if more photographs were available. However, this is a user-friendly app that is easy to navigate and is highly recommended.
- Dr Kochhar is a GP principal in St Leonards, East Sussex