An App For That

Just because there's an app for something, doesn't mean that it should replace the real thing. There is a rising number of apps that track and diagnose a wide range of skin diseases on the go, but according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, users should be cautious. "There are 229 dermatological applications out there and most are free," says Robert Dellavalle, M.D., Ph.D. "Yet this is an area of buyer beware because there are no regulations and no guarantees that these apps are providing accurate medical information." The apps' capabilities vary widely, from documenting general skin issues to focusing on specific diseases and allowing aptients and doctors to interface via smartphone. One benefit of the mobile proliferation is the chance to expand into rural and underserved populations, mitigating the shortage of dermatologists nationwide.