Your Doctor Is Smarter Than Your Smartphone

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There are some great smartphone apps available and many are real game-changers for improving productivity and saving time in our lives. However, while appointment reminders and mobile banking can replace the heavy datebook and waiting on line at the bank, some apps should not be used to replace the real thing. A new study has found that smartphone apps for detecting skin cancer risk are unreliable.

Melanoma is the deadliest type of skin cancer and research found that the reliability of phone apps assessing the risk of melanoma is highly inconsistent. Three out of the four apps examined in the study wrongly classified more than 30 percent of melanomas as not being troublesome.

“Smartphone usage is rapidly increasing, and the applications available to consumers have moved beyond communication and entertainment to everything under the sun, including health care,” says lead researcher Dr. Laura Ferris of the Department of Dermatology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. “These tools may help patients be more mindful about their health care and improve communication between themselves and their physicians, but it’s important that users don’t allow their ‘apps’ to take the place of medical advice and physician diagnosis.”

These types of medical apps are not subject to any kind of regulation from the government. The study’s authors warn of the potential danger for depending on applications like this for medical advice. Visit your doctor with any type of medical concern, we promise they are smarter than your smartphone, at least when it comes to their field.

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