Frequently Asked Questions
Who makes Dermwiz™?
The conception and building of the Dermwiz™ web site and mobile applications are directed by Emmanuel Maicas, PhD, MD, Pathologist. The first Excel-based version of the database was created in 1997. The first Access-based web site was in operation between 2002 and 2013. The web site has been updated in 2013. The first mobile applications have been available in 2014. Dermwiz™ is entirely owned by Cogniwiz Inc. located in Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada.
How does Dermwiz™ work?
Dermwiz™ is a web site that contains descriptions of skin diseases organized in a standardized format called a database. A program called a decision support system will act as the intermediate between the user and the database. It will search for the features chosen by the user and return a list of diseases containing them. Using a complex formulation, Dermwiz™ attempts to sort the diseases by closeness of match. Each search takes seconds only, so the user can quickly modify the search criteria to increase the usefulness of the result.
Does Dermwiz™ require much computing knowledge?
No. Anyone able to navigate the internet using a modern web browser will be able to use Dermwiz™. Almost all entries are selected from menus in order to minimize mistakes.
Does Dermwiz™ require much medical knowledge?
Yes. Disease features are listed in medical terms. Dermwiz™ should be used by qualified health professionals only. Patients should not use Dermwiz™. Most, if not all, of the diseases listed by the database for a given set of symptoms would not constitute a correct diagnosis for a given patient. The site does not contain information about all diseases. It does not contain all information that may be important or relevant to a particular health condition.
Will users have to pour over pages of data?
No. In order to simplify the use of Dermwiz™, only disease names, textbook page numbers and a short disease description will be provided.
Is Dermwiz™ an index of existing textbooks?
No. The information coded in the database has been gathered from a wide variety of sources, including personal observations by the authors. It has been carefully sorted, evaluated and entered. The result is unlike no book. Textbook page numbers are offered by Dermwiz™ for the convenience of the user but do not constitute a significant part of the product.
Will Dermwiz™ ever be published as a book?
No. Dermwiz™ is a searchable database presented as an interactive web site. This format is superior to bound paper for the following reasons:
- Dermwiz™, like the human brain, is dynamic. Diseases are never classified in an arbitrary order. The machine will sort them each time according to the needs of the user.
- Unlike printed algorithms or traditional expert systems, the user is not forced to accept a given classification or method. Any feature can be searched independently of others.
- By offering a differential diagnosis for a set of observations, Dermwiz™ imitates the intuitive process used by physicians to recognize diseases, augmenting is with the precision and capacity of computers.
- Dermwiz™ will be constantly updated by its authors. The latest version will always be available instantly and worldwide.
Is Dermwiz™ a form of artificial intelligence that will replace doctors?
No. Dermwiz™ is a tool to assist qualified professionals in the diagnosis of patients. It should be used by dermatologists, pathologists and other health care professionals. Like all computer programs, Dermwiz™ lacks true human intuition and judgment. Therefore, it cannot offer a final diagnosis. All information obtained from Dermwiz™ should be evaluated critically by the user.
Does Dermwiz™ contain confidential patient data?
No. Dermwiz™ is a disease database. It contains no identifiable patient data. Pictures of lesions or histological slides may be included in the database to illustrate a disease. In all cases, the anonymity of patients will be rigorously preserved.
Does Dermwiz™ cost something?
Not for now. Like all new products of this degree of complexity, this first public version of Dermwiz™ is still in the process of being perfected and tested. For this reason, it is temporarily offered free of charge to registered users.