Researchers say there might be another use for cell phones that come complete with cameras: diagnosing chronic leg ulcerations. Swiss researchers who used the phone cameras to send pictures of wounds to specialists in remote locations say doctors felt fairly comfortable diagnosing the wounds from the photos.
The study involved 52 patients with 61 chronic leg ulcers who were seen in an outpatient clinic. Investigators had a physician on site diagnose the wounds, then sent photos of the wounds to two other physicians at remote locations to get their assessment of the wounds as well. Overall, the remote physicians were able to diagnose the wounds in 82 percent of the cases. Agreement between the various physicians was high, suggesting the cell phone photos could accurately convey the information doctors need to make a diagnosis.
Thus researchers say their study shows that telemedicine for chronic wounds is actually feasible under routine conditions using the new generation of mobile telephones. Researchers also say further studies should be conducted to see how similar teleconsultations could impact patient care under routine conditions.