This weekend, I found yet another reason to be proud to call Vancouver home. Yes, we have the tremendous beauty of our natural environment, but did you know that we also have an emerging tech sector? I saw a news feature about a particularly exciting new smartphone app, designed by entrepreneur and Simon Fraser University (SFU) alumna Dr. Maryam Sadeghi.
Dr. Sadeghi has developed MoleScope, a portable and economic means by which lay people and doctors with an Apple smartphone or iPad can monitor moles and keep an eye on skin health.
Sadeghi, the innovative Director of Canada’s Digital Health Hub, designed the app and device as part of her PhD research at SFU.
The app was launched in Vancouver two months ago, at the World Congress of Dermatology. MetaOptima, which is the name of Sadeghi’s company, does not diagnose the status of your moles or skin health and it’s not intended to replace visits to your dermatologist or doctor. Rather, it empowers individuals to self monitor and communicate with their doctors.
How to Use It?
If you’ve paid for a cab ride or other purchase using Square, you’ll appreciate the simplicity of downloading the MoleScope app and then attaching a mini-microscope to your smartphone.
You position the MoleScope right above the mole, and scan it. You can then see the mole on your phone, which will raise questions about symmetry, colour and borders. If you’re not sure what’s normal, you can search this through a chart that will appear on your phone via the app.
If you see something of concern, you note it, set a reminder to check the mole again in a week to see how the size, colour and symmetry compare. The app builds a 3-D map of your moles, and you can upload information to a video to send to your doctor.
Each time you take a health-focused selfie, the app uploads the images of your skin moles to the cloud, which means that both you and your doctor can access the images and monitor changes over time. The app can also remind you when it’s time for your regular screening appointments.
Sadeghi’s vision is to ultimately see MoleScope used in rural communities, where there’s a lower likelihood of having skin cancer specialists ready available. There’s also potential for use for wound management and other purposes.
There are both home and professional versions of the attachment; the home version retails for $149 US, while the professional version for $249 US. At this point, the app runs solely on iOS, but there’s word that plans are underway for an Android version.
Do Your Own Research
Clearly, I’m excited about the product. It’s equally clear that I’m not an engineer, scientist or dermatologist, and so you should do your own research. You can find more about MoleScope on MetaOptima’s website, and the product has already garnered media exposure, including word of approval of the app by Health Canada.
A note: All app price quotes reflect those in place at date of publication; you’ll want to check prices, in your own currency, before downloading.