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Kiwi App Takes on Australia for Melanoma Detection

Kiwi App Takes on Australia for Melanoma Detection


New Zealand health app Firstcheck is launching in Australia tomorrow on its mission to put skin specialists in the pockets of all smartphone users.

The app has been addressing New Zealand’s alarming skin cancer rates by connecting people to a skin specialist from the comfort of their own home.

"Firstcheck puts a skin specialist at your fingertips to make it super easy to get an expert and almost immediate opinion on suspicious moles and other skin conditions," says Firstcheck co-founder Hayden Laird.

The iOS and Android app is free to download and was launched in New Zealand in November 2016. It goes live in Australia tomorrow, just in time for Melanoma March.

The app is the first of its kind in the fast growing field of telemedicine. Users can get virtual consultations with skin specialists via smartphones or tablets - for just $19.95 per consultation.

With Firstcheck, users simply take a couple of photos of the skin condition causing them concern and upload it securely to the app. Within 72 hours, they’ll receive expert advice from a qualified skin specialist.

Firstcheck pairs its app with a low-cost 20x magnifying lens (dermatoscope) called the SkinScope™, which attaches over smartphone cameras to enable good quality magnified images to be taken from home.

As well as the public, the app is also being used by GPs and community nurses in New Zealand, and pharmacies have also started supporting patient use of the app.

“The Firstcheck app reduces barriers like cost and accessibility. It’s a remote consultation with a doctor specialising in skin," Laird explains.

“We already have skin specialists working with the app across New Zealand, and now we have coverage across Australia, with more dermatologists and skin cancer doctors signing on by the day. New Zealand cases will be reviewed by local New Zealand skin specialists; and Australian cases by Australian skin specialists.”

The app also records the Skin Specialists at your fingertips: Firstcheck co-founders Hayden Laid (left) and Frank Lachmann (right) test their smartphone app.
user’s skin conditions so any changes can be tracked over time. It’s confidential and the data is accessed by users via secure cloud connection.

“In New Zealand we’re already seeing this simple-to-use technology improving access to the expertise of skin specialists and helping with the early detection of skin cancer – saving everyone time, cost and pain. So we’re delighted to be now offering the same proven solution to Australians,” Laird says.

The app is already helping save lives. It has helped detect numerous cases of melanoma and skin cancer in New Zealand following online consultations with skin specialists.

New Zealand and Australia have the highest skin cancer rates in the world and early detection is critical to successful treatment.

In Australia around 760,000 new cases of skin cancer are expected to be treated each year. According to Melanoma Institute Australia, two thirds of Australians get skin cancer before turning 70 – and one person will die from melanoma every six hours.

In New Zealand around 69,000 Kiwis get skin cancer every year, and over 300 New Zealanders die of melanoma every year.

“The Firstcheck app is a promising solution. It is pleasing to see the power of technology advancing to promote early detection of melanoma,” Melanoma New Zealand CEO Linda Flay says.

“All efforts to encourage early detection of melanoma are positive, and assessments that include a healthcare professional [like Firstcheck] are better than a computer reviewed image,” says Melanoma Patients Australia advisor Professor Peter Soyer.

The Firstcheck app is free to download and is available in the Apple and Android app stores.


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