Advice for Swedes on STDs just an MMS away

A pilot scheme in western Sweden will allow residents to take photographs of suspected skin problems and send them via mobile phone to the local health authority for analysis.

The Västra Götaland health authority, in partnership with online medical service iDoc24, plans to launch the new service on a trial basis at the end of May in a bid to provide quick answers to dermatological queries.

Concerned citizens will be able to send MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service) photos of skin problems caused by everything from sexually transmitted diseases to tic bites.

“The service is anonymous and users will received a password via text message within 24 hours,” Jon Malmström from the Västra Götaland health authority told The Local.

The password will give users access to a special site where they can log in to read advice given by specialist doctors.

“They won’t receive a diagnosis but they will be advised on the best course of action,” said Malmström.

After it has received 200 photos “on a first come, first served basis”, the authority will close the service for further review.

A parallel study will also examine the ability of doctors to analyse a skin problem using only photographic evidence.

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