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Teledermatology: Diagnosing Skin Conditions Using Photos

An increasing number of dermatologists are using virtual technology to gauge skin issues

A new study published in the Journal of American Medicine reveals that it's truly possible to use imagery to diagnose diseases.

Teledermatology, a term coined in 1995 by two dermatologists, is the practice of "utilizing telecommunication technologies to exchange medical information over a distance using audio, visual and data communication to diagnose, consult and recommend treatments in skin conditions." Translation: Derms look at pictures and are able to tell what's wrong with you.

WATCH: How to Grill Your Dermatologist Without Being Annoying

According to the study, this really works. 95 percent of the time a doctor who triaged a real patient and one who looked at photos of the same patient recommended a biopsy. When the in-person doc thought same day tests would be prudent, 90 percent of the time, the virtual doctor did too. And, where final diagnoses were concerned, both doctors agreed completely 82 percent of the time.

The findings are huge for people who live in remote parts of the country (world) where getting to see a top dermatologist is a pipe dream. Also, since there's a bona fide shortage of dermatologists and an alarming growth rate of scary skin issues like melanoma, teledermatology could definitely be the wave of the future. (Wonder if they'd have a conniption over these UV light photos.)

QUIZ: Is That Mole Skin Cancer?


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