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New accurate app helps diagnose skin problems

February 25, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
Rashes, bumps or marks on the skin could be a sign of stress or something more serious. But how would you know? Sometimes it takes weeks to get a doctor's appointment. There's a new, accurate app to figure out what might be wrong, right on your phone.

Dr. Noah Craft, a lead researcher at LA BioMed, helped develop VisualDx. It contains pictures and information on about 1,300 different skin diseases.

"Back then the idea was to put ideas into computers to help doctors make decisions and really empower them in an electronic way," said Craft.

Twenty to 30 percent of medical diagnoses are incorrect; 80,000 to 100,000 people a year die from diagnostic errors. Doctors say apps like VisualDx can improve accuracy.

"We tested 50 different doctors using this [the VisualDx app], or just their brains and a pile of books," said Craft. "And it was about 120 percent more accurate than just using books.

"It's being used by about half the medical schools now, and it's in about 1,500 hospitals," said Craft.

Marks on the skin can actually be signs of serious heart or autoimmune disorders. So the VisualDx technology can be a lifesaver.

"Having the best tools possible when you go see your doctor or before you see your doctor, is really important to help doctors and help patients make those diagnoses more accurately," said Craft.