Revolutionary technology for the early detection of melanoma | Innovation

A total of 9,200 pharmacies can offer accurate diagnoses of melanoma and other skin cancers thanks to Telederma, the first teledermatology project that connects the pharmacy with the consultation of the specialist in our country, developed by the technology and innovation of Minsait, In collaboration with Bidafarma (the second largest cooperative in the sector in Spain) and the Viamed Santa Ángela de La Cruz Hospital. The program promoted by the company of Indra facilitates that pharmacies can offer, within 48 hours, a diagnosis for the early detection of melanoma. The solution is already operational in about 130 pharmacies in several autonomous communities.

Each year, some 3,600 cases of melanoma are detected in Spain, an oncological process that is on the rise, although it is possible to slow down thanks to an early diagnosis. "We observed that there is a significant segment of the population that does not regularly visit their dermatologist, either because of waiting lists, due to distance or lack of time," says Nuria Gómez Thebaut, director of innovation at Bidafarma, organization that arises from the union of eight pharmaceutical cooperatives.

The germ of Telederma is based on taking advantage of the proportion of the number of existing pharmacies in relation to the population: "In Spain there are only 2,000 dermatologists, while there are 22,000 pharmacies. Therefore, the leverage that can have a pharmacy near your home or place of work, can get us to bring these dermatologists to the patient.


We wanted to attend a live test of this device. The appointment takes place in a pharmacy of the Carabanchel neighborhood of Madrid. "The cases of melanoma in Spain have doubled in the last 30 years, but even though it is a very aggressive process, the disease has a very favorable prognostic factor in early diagnosis. Therefore, the purpose of this experience is to ensure that people who may be affected are diagnosed as soon as possible. "Antonio Martos, health director of Minsait, expressed the reasons that motivated them to participate in this project so that pharmacies can to carry out the teleconsultation with high quality medical images and with all the guarantees of data protection from the Onesait Healthcare solution of Minsait.

Nuria Gómez Thebaut, director of innovation of Bidafarma, showing the operation of the camera that allows to analyze the spots on the skin

The reduction of waiting times for patients, the elimination of unnecessary displacements or the expansion of the segment of the population with access to a dermatological assessment are, together with the improvement of the early diagnosis of skin cancer, both melanoma and non-melanoma. , the main benefits, says the company.

This is the process

The process is simple: "We give the patient a brief questionnaire in which we ask him why he is worried about this injury, if he has suffered a change in size, color, if he has any symptoms, such as itching or bleeding; if you have a family history of melanoma or another type of skin cancer. "Thebaut explained the steps of this procedure:" And he has two photographs taken: a macro and a micro. These images are sent to a platform, secured and anonymized to which dermatologists access, in which they connect and within 24-48 hours they issue a diagnosis. "Finally, specialists send this assessment to the pharmacy, which prints and delivery to the patient.

Pharmacist taking a photo to a client with the device of the Telederma project

At the moment, there are eleven dermatologists who carry out the tele-consultation, but the idea is that little by little, specialists from other centers will be added to the initiative, as well as the number of pharmacies. It is currently operational in about 130, spread over several autonomous communities, and to locate them, we are working on a directory in which the user can perform a simple search and go to the nearest one. Little by little, all the affiliated pharmacies are being incorporated into this registry.

Pilot project

In September 2017, the start-up of the pilot project began, and since then, a high percentage of the consultations were solved digitally: "We are very satisfied with the service because 85% of the tests we have submitted have been final. . 60% of the tests have been benign, which is why we have lightened the waiting lists. And these patients who have gone to the pharmacy with a concern have remained calm within 24 to 48 hours. The rest have been precancerous lesions, such as actinic keratosis or even two melanomas, and other skin cancers such as squamous cell and basal cell carcinomas. So we are showing that the pharmacist brings the dermatologist to the patient, which in the case of melanoma is vital for survival. "Thebaut explained.

The role of Minsait in this project is fundamental. Minsait, a company of Indra, has been responsible for putting the technological rails: "What we have provided is our care management platform that allows efficient transfer of clinical data plus the image, which can be accessed by dermatologists as soon as possible. and move a report. In 48 hours we can have a true diagnosis of whether the lesion is tumorous, melanocytic or not, "said Martos.

Finally, better to prevent than cure, we are also with the advice of the pharmacist now that in summer we will expose ourselves more to the sun: "In a country like ours, we should not use a sunscreen factor less than 50, with the sun We have here, it would not do much ".

Data for hope

About 80% of the consultations were solved digitally, only in the rest of the cases the lesions were considered doubtful and the patients were referred to a face-to-face appointment with a dermatologist to make a definitive diagnosis. Finally, 60% of the lesions were found to be benign and more than 20% corresponded to lesions compatible with cancer or pre-skin cancer.

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