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BMC Pediatr. 2019 Jan 31;19(1):40. doi: 10.1186/s12887-019-1416-8.

Reliability and accuracy of smartphones for paediatric infectious disease consultations for children with rash in the paediatric emergency department.

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Department of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, Dr. Behçet Uz Children's Hospital, İzmir, Turkey.
Department of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, Dr. Behçet Uz Children's Hospital, İzmir, Turkey.
Department of Pediatrics, Dr. Behçet Uz Children's Hospital 22, İzmir, Turkey.
Department of Pediatric Emergency Department, Dr. Behçet Uz Children's Hospital, İzmir, Turkey.



Smartphones and associated messaging applications have become the most common means of communication among health care workers and the general population. The aim of this study was to evaluate the reliability and accuracy of smartphones for the diagnosis of rash in children admitted to emergency departments during the night shift.


The images of the children who were admitted to the paediatric emergency department with rash were included in this study, and at least two images taken with smartphones by residents or paediatric infectious disease fellows were re-directed to the chief consultant of the Paediatric-Infectious Department via smartphone. Initial diagnosis by the consultant was recorded, and the patient's physical examination was performed by another clinician on the first working day; diagnostic tests were planned by this clinician. The definitive diagnosis was recorded and compared with the initial diagnosis.


Among the 194 patients, the most common final diagnoses were chickenpox (varicella-zoster infections) in 33 patients (17.0%) and skin infections (including impetigo, ecthyma, erysipelas and cellulitis) in 33 patients (17.0%). The initial diagnosis, which was performed via WhatsApp on a smartphone, was identical to the final diagnosis in 96.3% of the cases. Incompatible initial diagnoses included 4 measles cases, 1 staphylococcal scalded skin syndrome case, 1 cutaneous leishmaniasis case and 1 petechial rash case.


Our study has shown that the use of a smartphone-based instant messaging application for transmitting images of paediatric rash is accurate and useful for diagnosis. However, physical examination and medical history are still the primary methods. Consultation via smartphones in emergency departments for paediatric rashes during nightshifts would help both clinicians and patients.

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