TRAINING TOOL TO AID SKIN LESION DIAGNOSIS
In 2014, Simedics, a healthcare media company, entered a licence agreement with the University of Edinburgh to use Dermofit – an innovative search algorithm and extensive skin lesion image library. Originally created by Professor Jonathan Reese, Grant Chair of Dermatology at the University, the database was developed by Professor Bob Fisher into an app that can be used to enhance users’ ability to correctly identify lesions.
Professor Rees began work on Dermofit in 2005, with a concept to develop a digital tool to educate GPs to improve skin lesion diagnosis. He collaborated with Professor Fisher of the University’s School of Informatics to further develop the Dermofit app.
The app took around four years to develop, which included sourcing the extensive image library and associated diagnoses (the library currently boasts more than 1,300 images), developing the algorithms to automatically group the photos based on their colour and texture properties, and testing the product with real-life practitioners.
Simedics Ltd originally approached the University through ‘University Technology’ (www.university-technology.com), an initiative that promotes new technology opportunities for industry from all of Scotland’s universities.
Simedics licensed the app in 2014, through Edinburgh Innovations, the innovation management service for the University of Edinburgh.
For Matthew Diver, Managing Director of Simedics, the main benefit of working with the University of Edinburgh was the ability to quickly acquire research-based IP, from which his company has been able to develop a new technology product much more quickly than they could have done through in-house development. Matthew said: “We simply wouldn’t have had the resources internally to spend on R&D of this nature. We also fully expect the academic provenance to support our market claims and encourage future sales.”