Using Selfies for Prescriptions

These pics can help your doctor diagnose your skin issues. 

Posted: 04/10/2014 09:52 AM EDT
Using Selfies for Prescriptions

Since day one of smartphones having a camera feature, the term “selfies” began to pop up everywhere.  The act of a person taking their own picture solo or with a group of people has gotten the attention from everyone including celebrities and the White House. But can this simple, seemingly-harmless  activity actually be a key to healthy skin?  One doctor seems to think so.

David Lortscher plans to use selfies in his medical practice. The San Diego dermatologist has started a company named PocketDerm, and it offers prescription medicine using online pictures.

“If the patient takes a few high quality photos, if they give us a really good sense of their medical history,” said Dr. Lortscher,” we select a prescription regiment for him.”

The idea is to treat people at home or work, rather than make them come into the doctor’s office.

Dr. Steve Steinhubl with Scripps Health says dermatology is on the leading edge of this sort of health technology.

“We are just at the beginning of mobile health,” said Steinhubl.

He said many chronic conditions can be monitored from home without time-consuming visits to the doctor’s office.

Lortscher plans to treat patients with mild or moderate acne. He said the health history and pictures should be enough to develop a prescription plan.

Patients who sign up for PocketDerm pay $30 dollars a month for the medicine and follow-up analysis.

Steinhubl is part of a research team looking into mobile medicine and says interest is actually greater with older patients but much easier for younger ones.

“Early adopters are more tech savvy,” said Steinhubl.

Offering acne medicine with no face-to-face visit is not legal in 13 states, but Lortscher says laws are changing and is optimistic that more widespread adoption of this technology is coming soon.

Read more about selfies and dermatology at BlackDoctor.Org.

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