Level of Confidence in Diagnosis: Clinical Examination Versus Dermoscopy Examination

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Abstract

BACKGROUND

Confidence is an important factor in decision making and may influence patient care.

OBJECTIVES

To evaluate whether short-training-based dermoscopy increases confidence in the diagnosis of skin lesions.

METHODS AND MATERIALS

After a 1-hour course on dermoscopy, 20 pairs of clinical and dermoscopic images of lesions were presented to 19 dermatology residents with little or no dermoscopy experience. After viewing the clinical image, they were asked to assess their confidence in the diagnosis in a seven-point scale, with 1 reflecting that the respondent was 100% confident that the lesion was benign, while number 7 reflected 100% confidence that it was malignant. The same technique was used for dermoscopic images.

RESULTS

Ten of the 20 pairs of evaluations showed a significant difference (p<.05). The largest differences were observed in lesions where clinical scores suggested that participants were uncertain about the diagnosis, but tended to decide that the lesion was benign after dermoscopy. Dermoscopy did not improve confidence in the evaluation of dysplastic lesions as well as lesions with obvious clinical diagnoses.

CONCLUSIONS

Short-training-based dermoscopy improved confidence in the diagnosis of clinically challenging skin lesions, but the impact was not demonstrable for clinically obvious lesions and dysplastic nevi.

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