After a concerning brush with melanoma, where a lengthy test dangerously delayed her treatment, Susan Conover began her studies in skin diseases and dermatology. She explored technological solutions to skin problems in the MIT System Design and Management graduate program and then founded Piction Health.
The Piction Health app was originally designed just to analyze melanomas, but soon after Conover realized just how often physicians and dermatologists are consulted over skin issues. Now, Piction Health can be used to identify and manage eczema, acne, shingles, and many other conditions. Conover hopes to later partner with experts to enable the app to diagnose skin cancers.
“All these other conditions are the ones that are often referred to dermatology, and dermatologists become frustrated because they’d prefer to be spending time on skin cancer cases or other conditions that need their help,” Conover says. “We realized we needed to pivot away from skin cancer in order to help skin cancer patients see the dermatologist faster.”
The Piction Health works in that it uses a photo of the user’s skin condition, taken by a primary care physician, and it references similar photos of known skin conditions.
Time and lifesaver
This app reduces the amount of time to diagnose a skin condition by about 30 percent, according to Conover. It also reduces the hours physicians and professionals spend with their patients and reduces costs for the patients and medical professionals. Waiting weeks to see a dermatologist or for test results to come in for certain skin conditions can be the difference between life and death in some cases.
Piction Health has already partnered with more than 50 physicians and several skin-care organizations.
“A lot of people don’t realize that it’s really hard to see a dermatologist — it can take three to six months — and with the pandemic it’s never been a worse time to try to see a dermatologist,” Conover says.