First Derm dermatology Q&A app tops 100,000 downloads

By Aditi Pai
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First DermFirst Derm, a dermatology question-and-answer app that is available in the Apple AppStore and Google Play Store, has reached 100,000 downloads.

The app launched a little more than a year ago: January 2014.

First Derm allows users to anonymously take pictures of external skin problems and send them to a licensed dermatologist, who will respond to inquiries within 24 hours of receiving the pictures with an assessment of the problem. App users are asked to send two pictures -- one close up and another farther away -- along with a description of the skin condition. The consultation costs $40 for each case submitted for assessment.

Users do not have to make an account or register to use the app. First Derm aims to keep all user information anonymous. Another addition to the app is its geo-location abilities that allow a user to locate the nearest pediatrician, dermatologist or pharmacy. 

“The main focus is to triage the right patient at the right time to the right level of healthcare,”Alexander Borve, the CEO of First Derm parent company iDoc24, told MobiHealthNews when the app launched last year. “We have an international network of dermatologists, working in five different languages. They have been vetted by our advisory board. Around 20 percent of cases are audited every month to keep a high standard.”

According to the company, 70 percent of cases submitted to First Derm can be treated over the counter, so most cases don't require a doctor's visit.

Last year, Borve conducted a study that found teledermatology referrals that use a smartphone with an attached dermoscope allowed dermatologists to manage their patients faster and more efficiently than by traditional paper referrals. The paper was published in medical journal Acta Dermato-Venereologica.

Last month, two dermatology apps, MelApp and Mole Detective, made news when they were fined by the Federal Trade Commission. Both apps claimed to provide an “automated analysis of moles and skin lesions for symptoms of melanoma and increase consumers’ chances of detecting melanoma in its early stages”, according to the FTC.  Some of the marketers behind the apps agreed to settle with the FTC, while two additional marketers of Mole Detective refused.