I hate the word 'cool.' It gives me a rash - Alber Elbaz
image by: VisualDx
Many of us have spent hours comparing photos of moles on Google images or looking up “itchy red patch” while reminding one of the kids to “stop scratching!”
Skin is just a really sensitive part of the body and we all have so much of it (weird, I know!). And all kinds of not-terrible-but-still-concerning issues crop up that seem to warrant individual investigation before resorting to a doctor visit.
Aysa is a new app that presents a new solution to that particular problem: It makes the process of looking up skin conditions personal.
While other apps have tried virtual approaches to dermatology, this one isn’t about checking into a digital evaluation with a physician. It’s just about upgrading the “Google phase,” so instead of sifting through pages of WebMD off the bat, you start with your particular issue and get more specific, useful results.
I got the deets and gave it a try to see if it’s worth the download.
How Aysa Works?
Aysa’s technology is built on the resources of something called VisualDx, described as “an award-winning clinical decision support system designed for healthcare workers to enhance diagnostic accuracy, aid therapeutic decisions, and improve patient safety.” It includes a curated library of more than 120,000 medical images in every skin color and type, and how 200 skin conditions can look at various stages. In other words, there’s a lot of data in the back-end that the system is accessing when you log on.
The app itself couldn’t be more user-friendly. After you download, you create a profile (in 15 seconds) that consists of just age, gender, and skin type. Then, you create a case by taking a photo of the “affected area.” Aysa then asks you as series of questions.
When I was testing it out, I didn’t have a particularly pressing skin issue to play with so I took a photo of a mole on my chest. Aysa asked “Is it a small solid bump that’s darker than normal skin color?” and then “How much of the body is affected?” Each question came with helpful illustrations or images to guide me. I indicated where on my body it was located and then got a few more questions like “Does it itch?” and “Do you have a fever?”
At the end, it delivered a list of results with a standard mole as the first result (bingo!), followed by other possibilities, all of them illustrated with several photos to, again, help you find the perfect match. When I clicked through to the results page, it provided bulleted details on the condition followed by tabs like prevention/self-care, when to see a doctor, and what else it could be.
Should You Use Aysa?
Overall, the whole process of using Aysa was super seamless and simple in a way that frustratingly googling various rashes definitely is not. I could see it being even more useful with kids, who seem to always be presenting with something new and itchy. Is it poison ivy? A heat rash? Chicken pox?
You can creates different profiles for each member of the family for more accurate evaluations (i.e. related to age and skin type) and when you’re finished, the app also saves the “case” so you can refer back to it at any point.
Of course, with any app like this there’s a danger of incorrect diagnoses, but the idea is not to use it to replace your doctor, just to replace all the stuff you already do before you call the doctor. When you Google a skin issue, you’re never quite sure what you’re going to get in terms of the quality of information being presented to you, whereas with Aysa, at least you know the results are coming from a medical database evaluated by pros. AKA, the answers—and your skin—may end up being a little more clear.
Source: Carley Knobloch, This App Wants You to Stop Googling Your Skin Issues, CarleyK.com, January 16, 2019.