Dermatology Online Journal
- Author(s): Dinulos, Anthony du Vivier review by James
- et al.
Title: Dermatology Imagebank
Author: Anthony du Vivier
Publisher: Blackwell Scientific Publications, Oxford, UK 1998
Cost: Cost: $200 personal/institutional
Review by James Dinulos, M.D.
Dermatology Online Journal 5(2): 10
Dr. du Vivier is well known for his atlas of dermatological images that is available in book and slide formats. He has produced a CD-ROM collection of over 1500 ultra-high resolution (24 bit) dermatological images that can be viewed on Macintosh and personal computers (PC). Minimal PC technical requirements are 80486 50MHz processor, 8 MB of RAM, 5MB hard disk space, 16 bit display driver (64000 colors), and CD-ROM drive. Minimal Macintosh requirements are 68030 processor, 8 MB RAM, 8 MB free hard disk space, system 7.1 or higher, 16 bit display driver, and CD-ROM drive. The software package includes Microsoft¹s Internet Explorer, which is utilized as the interface. Internet connection is not required to view images and other browsers such as Netscape navigator function equally well. I viewed images on an IBM ThinkPad (400MHz processor, 32 MB of RAM, 31 MB of hard disk space and 16 bit display driver), which produced excellent image quality and program speed. A 24 bit display was significantly smaller without detectable improvement in image clarity. A Power Macintosh 7300/200 provided similar image quality, however Dermatology Imagebank operated slower comparatively. The images may be imported into Microsoft's Power Point program.
Through Dermatology Imagebank, Dr. duVivier hopes to demystify descriptive dermatology by providing images that clearly depict dermatological conditions and provide text to guide medical providers in differential diagnosis and management. CR-ROM technology allows one to move rapidly back and forth between images, which makes comparative study easier. The interface allows one to search the image base by disease, lesion morphology or anatomic region. This format is useful and easy to use; it allows one with a clinical problem to attempt to sort through images in a systematic manner. Proper use of Imagebank should produce an accurate and substantial dermatological differential diagnosis for providers without formal dermatology training. A broad range of cutaneous disease is represented in 18 different categories. Images are representative of the stated dermatological conditions and are almost equal to the clarity of positive slide images. However, the accompanying general text is superficial and unfocused and therefore, is not helpful with clinical level decision making; other sources (i.e. dermatology textbooks) provide better information regarding disease pathogenesis and management. This atlas would benefit from pointed discussions aimed at helping generalists develop treatment plans. One example is the management section on acne. More information is given regarding treatment with Accutane (1 mg/kg for twenty weeks), than topical medications, which are listed in broad categories (antibacterial agents, keratolytic agents, and retinoic acid). A better approach would be to cite examples of topical preparations, explain the rationale for their use, and provide information about specialist referral.
Rapid image selection, ability to import images into slide-maker programs, and an easy to use interface are distinct advantages over standard book and slide formats. Trainees and teachers at all levels and specialties may benefit by learning dermatology with this CD-ROM. Overall, Dermatology Imagebank has a well-constructed interface and an outstanding dermatology image collection that together bring to full color the descriptive language of dermatology.
Compared to print version
Tables: Comparison of Features of Dermatology CD-ROMs Reviewed in This and Earlier 'Media Review' Sections of Dermatology On-Line Journal. *(All costs quoted are for personal purchases)
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