IU grad develops dermatology app


Dr. David Soleymani Courtesy Photo and Courtesy Photo Buy Photos

Sexting your dermatologist can save your life.

At least that’s the idea behind Dermio, a website and iPhone app which allows users to confidentially send pictures and videos of rashes, acne and other blemishes to be diagnosed by a dermatologist in 24 hours or less.

The app was created by Dr. David Soleymani, an IU graduate and dermatologist.

Fifty percent of all sexually active people will contract a sexually transmitted disease by age 25, according to the American Sexual Health Association, which is what motivated Soleymani to create the app.

“STIs go unchecked far too often,” Soleymani said in an email. “People are being reactive not proactive.”

In Dermio, once the blemish is diagnosed, a doctor will recommend a treatment plan and can send a prescription to a pharmacy near the user.

While working at Northwestern, Soleymani said he often had patients come in who wanted a faster way to be diagnosed.

“Most of dermatology is a visual thing, so if we can get pictures, we can diagnose patients most of the time,” Soleymani said. “From there, I created the app.”

Dermio appeals to people in rural areas where dermatologists are not easily found, Soleymani said.

Many of these patients are underinsured or underserved, so Dermio is great for them, he said.

Jim Rickards, health strategy officer for the Yamhill Community Care Organization in Oregon, said Dermio has benefited their rural community.

The county has about 100,000 residents and only one dermatologist, Rickards said. For Yamhill residents, making an appointment to see a dermatologist can take months.

Yamhill Community Care Organization chose to partner with Dermio because the app is simple, easy to use and can be accessed by primary care physicians in their offices through an iPad, Rickards said.

Rickards said the organization purchased 15 iPad minis to place in primary care clinics throughout the community.

Now, when the primary care doctors do not think they have the expertise to diagnose a patient, they can log in and take pictures of a skin condition to send to Dermio and have a diagnosis in less than 24 hours.

The app is also frequently used by college students who may have a dermatologist at home, but can’t go back just to see them, Soleymani said.

“Dermio solves this problem on the spot by putting a dermatologist in their pocket,” Soleymani said.

April is STI Awareness Month, but college students should always be smart and cautious, Soleymani said.

“Whoever you’re with, and no matter how trustworthy they seem, ask the tough questions,” Soleymani said. “Have they been exposed?”

Soleymani said users should not fear their Dermio pictures being seen by anyone besides their dermatologist. The app is completely secure, private and legitimate, he said.

Dermio has made the medical industry patient-centric rather than doctor-centric, Rickards said. The patient is now in charge.

“It’s not, ‘The doctor will see you now,’ it’s more the idea that the patient will see you now,” Rickards said. “It puts the control of your medical care in your hands.”

For more information about Dermio, visit dermio.com or download the app from the App Store.

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