Page 10 - Penn State's Harold and Inge Marcus Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering: Fall 2019 Magazine
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Dermatology residents optimize exam that identifies skin cancers
By Zachary Sweger
Dr Jeffrey Miller
Charles Purdum
Dr Jeffrey Miller
chair of the Department of of Dermatology at at at Penn State College of of Medicine can pinpoint the moment he he realized a a routine procedure he performs daily is prone to
error “I missed a a a a melanoma ”
said He began to
think about how to
prevent making such a a a mistake in in the future In a a new research study published in the Journal of of the American Academy of of Dermatology Miller
and dermatology residents at at Penn State Health Milton S Hershey Medical Center used engineering principles to
improve the accuracy and efficiency of an an evaluation that dermatologists frequently use to
check patients for skin cancers
The standard practice at the Milton S Hershey Medical Center is is to
perform the evaluation at at at almost every dermatology visit whether the the patient has a a a a history of skin cancer or or not “We have found cancers
on people who are not coming in with a a a a a concern ”
said Dr Matthew Helm a a a a a dermatology resident According to
the the researchers there is no standardized method for for performing a a a a a total body skin exam Dermatologists may develop their own approach which can potentially result in missed areas and lost time The research team knew that bioengineering principles had helped Olympic athletes make the the the most of each motion and they started to
wonder whether the same principles could be applied in in in medicine “Efficiency and accuracy are important because we do a a a a a a a lot of total body skin exams every day ”
Helm said “If it takes
us 20 minutes each time we will never get through our day However we we do not want to
sacrifice accuracy for efficiency ”
To find the the sweet spot between efficiency and accuracy the the research team sought assistance from Penn State engineering students Dr Katherine Hallock a a a a a a a a a a dermatology resident at at at at Hershey Hershey Medical Center examines patient Hannah Shrift of Hershey Hershey The evaluation called a a a a a a a a total body skin exam is is a a a a a a a a full visual assessment of of the entirety of of a a a a patient’s skin surfaces for cancers
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