An Ongoing Commitment to Equity in Medicine

VisualDx has been improving diagnosis in skin of color for more than 20 years. Join us and many of the world’s leading health systems and universities as we reduce bias and disparities in medical knowledge.

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New Collaborative Webinar Series Tackles Structural Racism and Bias in Medicine

The Skin of Color Society, NEJM Group, and VisualDx are proud to announce a series of virtual panel discussions that call attention to health disparities and structural racism in medicine. The four-part webinar series, “The Impact of Skin Color and Ethnicity on Clinical Diagnosis and Research,” will delve into longstanding problems in education, research, and patient care as well as introduce ways to improve outcomes in marginalized patients.

28.5% of images in VisualDx are skin type IV, V, VI.
Evidence in JAAD Article

1. Alvarado SM, Feng H, Representation of dark skin images of common dermatologic conditions in educational resources: a cross-sectional analysis, JAAD (2020), https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaad.2020.06.041. Published June 10, 2020. Accessed June 18, 2020.

Everyone deserves a timely and accurate diagnosis.

For too long, patients with pigmented skin have been marginalized and faced worse outcomes than their peers with lighter skin colors. Textbooks and other resources have traditionally underrepresented presentations of disease in people of color.

For over 20 years, VisualDx has been committed to providing a comprehensive resource for medical images across all skin types. We know the importance of helping health care professionals with the challenges and subtleties of recognizing skin changes in patients with darker skin pigmentation. Equally important is the ability to engage with patients of color by showing them images that look like them or the way a diagnosis manifests on dark skin. This can build confidence and trust – an essential part of practicing exemplary medicine.

A screenshot of VisualDx showcasing the multiple supported skin tones in their image library.

“VisualDx demonstrates pathology on dark skin in remarkably high proportion compared to other resources.”

“Of the 15,445 images across all resources, 19.5% were DSI [Dark Skin Images: Fitzpatrick V-VI]. Online resources had a greater representation of DSI (22.1%) compared to printed texts (10.3%). For online resources, VisualDx had a greater representation of DSI (28.5%) compared to DermNet NZ 47 (2.8%). DSI representation varied based on dermatologic conditions.”

— Alvarado SM, Feng H, Representation of dark skin images of common dermatologic conditions in educational resources: a cross-sectional analysis, JAAD. Published June 10, 2020.

Understanding differences in presentation is key to diagnosis and improved patient care.

Acute Meningococcemia

Acute Meningococcemia on light skin

The violaceous color of purpura is obvious on this patient’s light skin.

Acute Meningococcemia on dark skin

In a patient with dark skin, purpura appears dark brown rather than violaceous.

Dermatomyositis

In dark skin, the inflammation of dermatomyositis is more subtle, and has a brown to purple color and does not look like typical inflammation.

In light skin, the inflammation due to dermatomyositis is easily seen as red or pink skin.

Diversity in Medical Images

Disease Appearance: Variations in Skin Presentations

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VisualDx Image Collection Diversity

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A skin condition shown on the screen of a mobile device

DermExpert™ Built for Equity of Diagnosis in Skin Conditions

In 2017, VisualDx released the AI-enabled feature, DermExpert, which helps non-specialists identify and diagnose skin conditions by taking a photo of their patient. DermExpert employs machine learning models that have been trained, from the beginning, on a range of images from very dark skin to light skin, to all skin tones in between. This ensures that every patient, no matter their skin color, will experience the same quality performance from the DermExpert app.

Brian Browne, MD, an emergency medicine physician at the University of Maryland, shared his experience using DermExpert with a patient of color. “She loved how this app worked,” said Dr. Browne. He was pleased to be able to accurately diagnose and treat her lobular capillary hemangioma.

Sources

  • Ebede T, Papier A. Disparities in Dermatology Educational Resources. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17010750/. Published October 2006. Accessed June 17, 2020.
  • Egede LE. Race, ethnicity, culture, and disparities in health care. J Gen Intern Med. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1924616/. Published June 2006. Accessed June 17, 2020.
  • Lester JC, Taylor SC, Chren M-M. Under-representation of Skin of Colour in Dermatology Images: Not Just an Educational Issue. Br Dermatol. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31157429/. Published June 2019. Accessed June 17, 2020.
  • Gorbatenko-Roth K, Prose N, Kundu RV, Patterson S. Assessment of Black Patients’ Perception of Their Dermatology Care. JAMA Dermatol. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31433446/. Published August 2019. Accessed June 17, 2020.
  • Alvarado SM, Feng H, Representation of dark skin images of common dermatologic conditions in educational resources: a cross-sectional analysis, JAAD (2020), https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaad.2020.06.041. Published June 10, 2020. Accessed June 18, 2020.