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Technology and Nudges to Promote Skin Self-Examination

Technology and Nudges to Promote Skin Self-Examination

Project status

Pilot/study with results


Andrew Marek, MD, MS 

Emily Chu, MD, PhD 

Innovation leads


Institute for Translational Medicine and Therapeutics 

National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences


Nearly all skin cancers can be cured if found and treated early. With this in mind, dermatologists recommend regular skin self-exams, especially for people at higher risk of skin cancer. 


A team of researchers at the University of Pennsylvania leveraged Way to Health to test interventions to improve skin self-exam rates. The 69 participants in this trial were randomized to one of four groups.  

Participants in all four groups received access to a mobile app loaded with total body photography (TBP) patient photos. Group two also received self-exam reminders, and group three participants were assigned accountability partners. Finally, group four received self-exam reminders and accountability partners.   


Self-exam rates increased significantly from 58 percent at baseline to 83 percent at six months, with no difference among the intervention groups. The group that received reminders alone had the highest overall satisfaction, and the group with accountability partners alone had the lowest. 

Way to Health Specs

Learn more about the platform
Activity monitoring
Arms and randomization
Criteria-based rules
Dashboard view
Device integration
EHR integration
Multiple languages
Patient portal messaging
Patient-reported outcomes capture
Photo messaging
Remote patient monitoring
Schedule-based rules
Survey administration
Two-way texting
Vitals monitoring