New Device Assists Practitioners with COVID-19 Virtual Skin Rash Diagnoses

The American Academy of Dermatology recently announced a possible correlation between COVID-19 and skin rashes. There is now a way for practitioners to get diagnostic opinions from licensed dermatologists using their phones.

skin rash

The free service, FirstDerm.com is anonymous and has collected more than 300,000 images of skin ailments which allows for the company to build out an artificial intelligence algorithm that matches various skin conditions. Today’s Practitioner contacted the company to find out more.

Virtually diagnosing a skin rash during COVID-19 pandemic

TP: What have you learned about skin rashes as a symptom of COVID-19?


FirstDerm: Observations from France, Finland, China, Italy and the US in COVID-19 patients, which have also been reported in case review medical publications. Have shown the following skin diseases: Urticaria, Morbilliform (a diffuse macupapular eruption), Lived reticularis (mottled discoloration of the skin), Chicken pox like vesicles on erythematous skin, Petechial eruptions and Chilblains (Acral Ischemia). We have gone through the First Derm database back to 1st February 2020, where we have only noticed more cases than usual in the months of March and April in regards to Chilblains. The patients complaining only of sudden onset and cause itching, red patches, swelling and blistering on hands and feet. None of the patients had a COVID-19 test done, but were recommended to get one or isolate. We cannot say if this is just a coincidence or if it is related, however since there have been cases reported in countries with COVID-19 outbreak, we think Chilblains can be related to COVID-19.


2. How can this device help practitioners make a more accurate telemedicine diagnosis of COVID-19?

First Derm: With the app First Derm a practitioner can always send in photos of skin concern and describe the patient history and they will get an answer back from a board certified dermatologist within hours. If you suspect that the skin concern is related and you have no access to a COVID-19 test, CDC isolation recommendations should be followed for that patient.


3. What do practitioners need to do to set this system in their own practice?

FirstDerm: The practitioner can download the First Derm app or via the website ask a dermatologist directly. We do not collect any patient identifying data, so the information will be anonymous.


4. How can this device help practitioners make other types of skin condition diagnosis?

FirstDerm: Via the First Derm app, you can ask an online dermatologist about any skin concern and have a response in hours, it is a paid solution per consultation. However there is a Free Skin Image Search that uses artificial intelligence can screen for the 43 most common skin disease, like inflammatory skin diseases, skin tumors and genital concerns. You just need to upload a focused good quality image to the search engine any you will get five of the most probable skin disease diagnosis back, ranked in probable order. A health practitioner can use the it as a clinical decision support system to enhance diagnostic accuracy, aid therapeutic decisions, and improve patient safety. It can be used here at no cost: www.firstderm.com/ai-dermatology


More about First Derm: Dr. Alexander Börve, an orthopedic surgeon developed the dermatology app. It was originally developed for paramedics to send images of accident-scene victims with their mobile phones directly to the ER doctors. The platform has since won numerous prizes as a digital health service, as well as for the fundamental research that is on-going in the field. First Derm identifies skin ailments with their dermatology app where users can contact doctors quickly and remotely. On the website, AI powered Skin Image Search enables users to upload an image to immediately find matches on skin conditions. The technology is used by thousands who are able to skip dermatologist lines—anonymously online.
The AI is trained to recognize smart phone photo format, so anyone with a smart phone can use the free—anonymous—image service. Over 300,000 images of skin ailments have been uploaded which has enabled FirstDerm.com to build out their own artificial intelligence (AI) algorithm.The First Derm team consists of renowned board certified dermatologists who focus on the prevention, early diagnosis and optimal therapy of melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer, infectious & tropical diseases.