An artificial intelligence-driven smartphone app has been launched by AIIMS-Delhi along with Nurithm labs, a start-up, to address the access and accuracy problems in clinical diagnosis of dermatological diseases, including skin and oral cancers.
DermaAId, the skin disease diagnostic solution, uses a machine-learning AI-driven algorithm encapsulated in a mobile app and transforms a basic smartphone with a 1 MP camera into a potent tool in skincare, Dr Somesh Gupta, a Professor in the Department of Dermatology and Venereology at AIIMS, told PTI.
For general practitioners, it is a clinical decision support tool to augment their capability and understanding of skin conditions.
This is particularly relevant since studies have revealed that diagnostic accuracy among general practitioners vis-à-vis dermatologists is 40 to 50 per cent, Dr Gupta pointed out.
”The technology behind the app is deceptively simple. A doctor takes a photo of lesions on a patient’s body and uploads them to the cloud server. Within 15-30 seconds, the app provides possible disease conditions based on machine analysis of images,” he explained.
”The actual diagnostic work happens in the backend. The AI-machine learning algorithms hosted on the secure server provide a dermatologist-level classification of skin diseases and treatment options,” the doctor said.
India is witnessing widespread cutaneous fungal infections which are confused with inflammatory skin diseases such as eczema and treated with steroids. The app is likely to help in tackling the problem of irrational use of steroid creams in fungal infections. As of now, DermaAId can identify more than 50 skin diseases which are the most common cases encountered by doctors. The number will increase by the end of this year.
The app can pick up acne, psoriasis, vitiligo, tinea, eczema, male alopecia, basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma, which are different types of skin cancers, with about 80 per cent accuracy, Dr Gupta said.
”The efficacy of DermaAid reiterates that increasing availability of healthcare data and rapid development of smart analytics can revolutionise our healthcare system,” he said.
Skin ailments are the fourth leading non-fatal disease burden at the global level. Dr Gupta said according to the Union health ministry’s estimates, India has only 12.5 lakh of allopathic practitioners of which only 3.71 lakh have specialist or post-graduate qualifications. ”So, the number of skin specialists in India would be a fraction of the total number of specialists.
”The app can be handy, especially in rural India where general practitioners are not readily available and healthcare workers can address the immediate needs. It can also be deployed to screen oral cancer,” the doctor said.