Teledermatology has given dermatologists a tool to track patients’ responses to therapy using images. Virtual assistants, the programs that interact with users through text or voice messages, could be used in teledermatology to enhance the interaction of the tool with the patients and healthcare professionals and the overall impact of the medication and quality of life of patients. As such, this work aimed to investigate the effectiveness of using a virtual assistant for teledermatology and its impact on the quality of life. We conducted surveys with the participants and measured the usability of the system with the System Usability Scale (SUS). A total of 34 participants (30 patients diagnosed with moderate-severe psoriasis and 4 healthcare professionals) were included in the study. The measurement of the improvement of quality of life was done by analyzing Psoriasis Quality of Life (PSOLIFE) and Dermatology Life Quality Index (DLQI) questionnaires. The results showed that, on average, the quality of life improved (from 63.8 to 64.8 for PSOLIFE (with a -value of 0.66 and an effect size of 0.06) and 4.4 to 2.8 for DLQI (with a -value of 0.04 and an effect size of 0.31)). Patients also used the virtual assistant to do 52 medical consultations. Moreover, the usability is above average, with a SUS score of 70.1. As supported by MMAS-8 results, adherence also improved slightly. Our work demonstrates the improvement of the quality of life with the use of a virtual assistant in teledermatology, which could be attributed to the sense of security or peace of mind the patients get as they can contact their dermatologists directly within the virtual assistant-integrated system.
About The Expert
Ana M Morales Callaghan