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The MoleMap Story

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Team Molemap Creator
Posted 25/03/14

We are often asked how the unique idea of MoleMap came about, so we thought we would share our story with you. It is a true success story and to this day there is nothing quite like MoleMap by Dermatologists.

The idea started with a group of dermatologists with a shared passion for developing a world leading melanoma program. They noticed that despite all of the national education programs promoting sun protection, there was no commensurate decrease in the number of deaths from melanoma each year.

The team of dermatologists recognised that melanomas were not always being identified in routine skin checks, as doctors did not always have the technology or skills to recognise melanomas, particularly at the early stage.

Using expert dermatologists, scientists, engineers, software developers and highly skilled nurses, the team pioneered a highly accurate program for the early detection of melanoma – a system that ultimately helps to save lives.

Healthcare programs like this are not just accepted on face value by the public or the medical community. The program had to be clinically validated to satisfy ourselves and public and medical communities.

Validation...

A good measure of accuracy is how many lesions are excised to find a melanoma. Ideally, the less moles that need to be unnecessarily cut out, the better!

How we compare:

Healthcare Professional Lesions excised vs melanoma found
MoleMap by Dermatologists 4:1 (i) ie. excise four to find one
GP 20:1(ii)
Dermatologist 12:1(iii)

Another useful measure is sensitivity. Analysis of our database indicates that our sensitivity exceeds 98.9%. What does this mean? Sensitivity measures our accuracy in correctly identifying melanomas. As a comparison, average sensitivities:

Healthcare Professional Sensitivity
MoleMap by Dermatologists 98.9% (i)
GP 29% (ii)
Skin Cancer Clinic (GP led) 60% (ii)
Dermatologists 80% (iii)

A Success...

We want to give our customers complete peace of mind by achieving one of two outcomes - "Great, I know that I don’t have melanoma", or "Thank goodness it was found early and can be treated!" - Adrian Bowling (CEO)

At times we like to think of ourselves as a technology business, but we really are a service business and our technology is the enabler that allows us to do what we do. Notwithstanding that, it is not trivial to build a camera from scratch, develop and operate one of the largest store and forward tele-medicine platforms in the world and ensure a level of quality that is required when dealing with a life threatening disease.

We now have over 50 clinics across New Zealand, Australia and United States. Since 1997 we have seen over 115,000 patients, assessed over 3.9 million lesions, captured over 9.5 million images (body, clinical and dermoscopy) and most importantly, up to 10 times more melanomas are being diagnosed at an earlier stage through MoleMap technology than would have been identified by doctor based visual examinations.

We are continually finding ways to make our technology better, service more convenient, and improve our efficiency.

Page image: Dr Mark Gray (Medical Director), Andrew Maslin (GM), Adrian Bowling (CEO), Kim Archibald (Technology Program Manager).

References:

(i) MoleMap Internal Audit. Benign to malignant ratio from a sample of 700 recommended excisions from 2010-2013. Sensitivity from documentation of reported missed melanomas.(ii) Youl, P. H et al , Diagnosing skin cancer in primary care: how do mainstream general practitioners compare with primary care skin cancer clinic doctors? Med J Aust 2007; 187 (4): 215-220. (iii). Carli P, et al. Improvement of Malignant/Benign Ratio in Excised Melanocytic Lesions in the 'Dermoscopy Era': A Retrospective Study 1997-2001. B J Derm 2004; 150: 687-692.