Evaluation of the MoleMateTM training program for assessment of suspicious pigmented lesions in primary care

Annabel Wood, Helen Morris, Jon Emery, Per Hall, Symon Cotton, Toby Prevost, Fiona Walter


Background Pigmented skin lesions or 'moles' are a common presenting problem in general practice consultations: while the majority are benign, a minority are malignant melanomas. The MoleMateTM system is a novel diagnostic toolwhich incorporates spectrophotometric intracutaneous analysis (SIAscopy) within a non-invasive scanning technique and utilises a diagnostic algorithm specifically developed for use in primary care. The MoleMateTM training program is a short, computer- based course developed to train primary care practitioners to operate the MoleMateTM diagnostic tool.
Objectives This pre-trial study used mixed methods to assess the effectiveness and acceptability of a computer-based training program CD-ROM, developed to teach primary care practitioners to identify the seven features of suspicious pigmented lesions (SPLs) seen with the MoleMateTM system.
Method Twenty-five practitioners worked through the MoleMateTM training program: data on feature recognition and time taken to conduct the assessment of each lesion were collected. Acceptability of the training program and the MoleMateTM system in general was assessed by questionnaire.
Results The MoleMateTM training program improved users' feature recognition by 10% (pre-test median 73.8%, p<0.001), and reduced the time taken to complete assessment of 30 SPLs (pre-test median 21 minutes 53 seconds, median improvement 3 minutes 17 seconds, p<0.001). All practitioners' feature recognition improved (21/21), with most also improving their time (18/21). Practitioners rated the training program as effective and easy to use.
Conclusion The MoleMateTM training program is a potentially effective and acceptable informatics tool to teach practitioners to recognise the features of SPLs identified by the MoleMateTM system. It will be used as part of the intervention in a randomised controlled trial to compare the diagnostic accuracy and appropriate referral rates of practitioners using the MoleMateTM system with best practice in primary care.


computer-aided diagnosis; primary care; suspicious pigmented lesion.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.14236/jhi.v16i1.673


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