Aging population as well as growing incidence of type 2 diabetes induce a growing incidence of chronic skin disorders. In the meantime, chronic shortage of dermatologists leaves some areas underserved. Remote triage and assistance to homecare nurses (known as “teledermatology”) appear to be promising solutions to provide dermatological valuation in a decent time to patients wherever they live. Nowadays, teledermatology is often based on consumer devices (digital tablets, smartphones, webcams) whose photobiological and electrical safety levels do not match with medical devices’ levels. The American Telemedicine Association (ATA) has published recommendations on quality standards for teledermatology. This “quick guide” does not address the issue of image quality which is critical in domestic environments where lighting is rarely reproducible. Standardized approaches of image quality would allow clinical trial comparison, calibration, manufacturing quality control and quality insurance during clinical use. Therefore, we defined several critical metrics using calibration charts (color and resolution charts) in order to assess image quality such as resolution, lighting uniformity, color repeatability and discrimination of key couples of colors. Using such metrics, we compared quality of images produced by several medical devices (handheld and video-dermoscopes) as well as by consumer devices (digital tablet and cameras) widely spread among dermatologists practice. Since diagnosis accuracy may be impaired by “low quality-images”, this study highlights that, from an optical point of view, teledermatology should only be performed using medical devices. Furthermore, a dedicated medical device should probably be developed for the time follow-up of skin lesions often managed in teledermatology such as chronic wounds that require i) noncontact imaging of ii) large areas of skin surfaces, both criteria that cannot be matched using dermoscopes.
Marine Amouroux, Sébastien Le Cunff, Alexandre Haudrechy, and Walter Blondel, "Image quality assessment for teledermatology: from consumer devices to a dedicated medical device," Proc. SPIE 10056, Design and Quality for Biomedical Technologies X, 100560L (Presented at SPIE BiOS: January 29, 2017; Published: 14 March 2017); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2249603.
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