A new smartphone camera lens that takes detailed photos of moles or skin lesions could be used to diagnose tens of thousands of skin cancer patients faster.
The small camera lens attaches to a smartphone and essentially turns the phone into a microscope that provides high-resolution photos to doctors without the patient having to attend hospital.
The device will be rolled out by the National Health Service (NHS) in England where officials hope it will double the number of patients medics can check in a day — saving on referrals, cutting waiting lists, and speeding up treatment.
“This is a small piece of kit that has the potential to speed up diagnosis and treatment for tens of thousands with skin cancer,” NHS England chief Amanda Pritchard tells The Sun.
“There is no denying that increased demand has placed huge pressure on services. Championing the use of digital technology and new ways of working is key to reducing waits.”
600,000 people were referred for skin checks in the U.K. last year — 9% higher than the previous year. 56,000 skin cancer patients received treatment for the potentially deadly disease.
Artificial Intelligence Tool to Fight Skin Cancer
According to Sky News, the NHS is also testing an artificial intelligence (AI) tool to assess whether skin cancer is present on a patient.
Deep Ensemble for the Recognition of Malignancy (DERM) is a new technology that is being used to aid doctors’ assessment. Officials want to see if the tool comes to the same conclusion as a doctor.
DERM uses AI algorithms to analyze magnified images of skin lesions to determine whether the patient has cancer.
“Our mission is to help more people survive skin cancer and by providing easier access to skin cancer assessments and we are excited to help additional hospitals see more patients faster through the use of our DERM technology,” says Neil Daily, CEO of Skin Analytics, the company behind the technology.
“The NHS’s decision to roll out DERM to support teledermatology is another positive example of the NHS championing world-leading technologies and the next generation of dermatology pathways.”
Image credits: Header photo licensed via Depositphotos.