Beyond Selfie: Photos Can Help Diagnose Diseases

Every day, thousands of smartphones are launched on the market. With them, several services and resources appear to bring more comfort and technology to users.

But the publication of a study in Science Daily proved that these devices can also aid in the diagnosis of diseases around the world.

All this through a new algorithm for cell phones that has the ability to make medical assessments in different places of care.

The search

Made by researchers at the Faculty of Engineering and Computer Science, Florida Atlantic University , the study works on a system, compatible with cell phones, capable of processing images more accurately, and can help diagnose diseases through selfies, photos taken by the self patient.

Even though it is still in the testing phase, it has already been possible to see promising results in the system.

This is because, by the frontal photo taken with the cell phone, or as we call “selfie”, the created algorithm detects the levels of color saturation in the image and compares them with a database, making it possible to detect pathologies or changes.

Although it is not the first software or application for this purpose, the difference to other algorithms already created is exactly the processing of information. In this method, the generated images have less color variation, which allows a more effective analysis to be generated.

Even if the idea is not to replace specialized medical consultation, the technology has the potential to be used in diagnostics, facilitating the process.

The scientists performed several tests on different cell phones to see which one has the best image quality and to establish a standard when taking the photo to use in the analysis system.

Some basic conditions are necessary for the quality of the photo, among them are white lighting, white background, in addition to the angle and distance that allow to register the entire face.

Researchers continue to develop the mechanism so that it has the potential to diagnose people quickly and effectively in detecting diseases, but always used in conjunction with medical monitoring.

How can smartphones help telemedicine?

Smartphones are considered a great tool for telemedicine. This is because the devices have a computational capacity similar to specific machines for telemedicine.

In addition to the fact that current smartphones also feature high-resolution screens, great photo quality and are connected to the entire world, allowing specialists from different locations to quickly evaluate the results.

In this sense, the practice of telemedicine can establish and facilitate various relationships over time. Let’s name a few here:

The algorithms may be able to convert the device’s camera into a microscope to examine red blood cells for evidence of disease.

Among health professionals themselves, as doctors can exchange information about the patient population, in order to answer questions and clarify the case.

In addition, it is possible to have so-called teleconsultations, which can help patients, facilitating consultations and optimizing early diagnoses.

However, to consult by video, it is necessary to meet some guidelines. Which are written on the link below.

Read more: Telemedicine: video medical care is regulated in Brazil

With the evolution of smartphones it is possible to see a new perspective for the health area.

New tools, increasingly powerful, can diagnose a disease.

But, in spite of facilitating medical consultations, reducing costs and speeding up the service time, the devices are not a substitute for a visit to the doctor.