SkinVision, a digital health company, has partnered with Central, the health insurance branch of Generali in Germany, to provide policyholders with a mobile phone app that allows users to scan their bodies for signs of skin cancer.
The app, which was launched in Germany, allows users to take photos of their moles and lesions and to track changes over time.
SkinVision’s app can be downloaded from the iOS App Store or the Android Play Store. It uses a clinically tested algorithm that checks for signs of skin cancer in skin spots and surrounding tissue.
How the app works
The algorithm calculates the fractal dimension of skin lesions and surrounding skin tissue to reveal the different growth patterns of the tissues for the melanoma risk analysis.
SkinVision’s app checks for visible signs of skin cancer by comparing lesions to the 3.5 million pictures of suspicious skin conditions the company has in its database. The company says it has built a global customer portfolio of 1.2 million users.
According to the SkinVision website, after the scan is complete, the user will receive an assessment within 30 seconds. The user will then receive a low, medium or high risk assessment, along with related advice.
The company says that if a user receives a high risk assessment, SkinVision’s dermatologists would be on hand to offer advice within 48 hours about next steps to take.
The Tech Guide website claims this is the first app of its kind to offer online assessments and determine non-natural growth of pigmented moles.
The app is said to be 83 percent accurate. This will come as good news! In the past, skeptics have questioned the efficacy of mobile phone apps in detecting skin cancer.
SkinVision says its app is the first certified skin cancer application based on extensive global clinical trials conducted in partnership with the university clinic of Ludwig Maximilian University (LMU) in Munich in 2013, with results published in the JEADV in 2014.
Early detection of skin cancer vital
SkinVision Chief Executive Officer, Erik de Heus, is optimistic that their app will “motivate many users to go to their doctor early in the case of skin changes, ensuring they get there at the right time. The service can also reduce the costs to the healthcare system.”
Of partnerships with health insurers, de Heus said SkinVision was “very excited about how this partnership will evolve.”
Jochen Petin, Chief Insurance Officer of Health at Generali Deutschland, said the use “of intelligent technologies is a central component of our smart insurance offensive.”
Petin said that Generali, one of the biggest insurance groups in the world, began its digital transformation about two years ago and started looking for innovative solutions “particularly in the area of preventative health, ensuring we reach the customer before they are affected. We do not just want to insure, we want to improve.”
Skin cancer cases on the rise
SkinVision, which was founded in 2012, says the idea of the app came after the realisation that the number of skin cancer cases has been on an upward trend over the last two decades. The company estimates that, annually, about 200,000 people in Germany are diagnosed with the disease.
“The earlier skin cancer is detected, the higher the chances of patient survival,” SkinVision said in a statement.
At the end of July, SkinVision announced that it had raised $7.6 million to continue the development of the app, which it says will “bring convenient, accurate and quick recognition of skin cancer.”
“This funding will be instrumental in reaching our target of saving 250,000 lives by 2027. We have seen huge growth in the past year and this investment will help us to expand our insurance provider partnerships, ensuring that as many people as possible are provided access to the technology,” de Heus said in a statement at that time.
In May, SkinVision won the Dutch Digital Health Challenge for its work with Dutch health insurer, CZ.
SkinVision primarily focuses on the United Kingdom, Australian and European markets. The company says it was working on making the app available in the U.S. However, it did not set a timeline for this.
Other apps offering a similar service are Doctor Mole and MoleScope.