Information Technology

The progress the international medical community is making is happening at a staggering rate and much of that is due to the broad advantages that IT developments offer. Over a billion people are connected worldwide by social networks that just a decade ago did not exist. The internet is now not just a way of communicating, it’s a vital component of our economy and of a modern way of life. The lives of countless people have been drastically improved and the breadth of their connections with one another have never been greater due to untold developments in Information Technology.

Warning Western modes of health care are just one standard globally, but from the mountainous regions of Nepal to the vast rural landscapes of South America, entire communities are cut off from greater, vital means of care. Skin conditions should be seen by the right person, in the right place, at the right time and should move readily between levels of care as necessary. In the developing world there are many reasons why this cannot happen besides distance and local ignorance, it is our role to combat them.

Action Opportunities to reach communities cut off from more advanced forms of care include, telemedicine, mobile phone apps, web forums and more are vital means of conversing with patients and keeping records and collecting data. It is clear that ownership by Traditional Health Practitioners of a mobile phone in even the most resource poor regions will have a particular advantage for conditions of the skin which can be so easily photographed. This allows a snake bite for example, to be identified and anti-venom to be sourced. The proliferation of smart phone and internet technologies now enable us to make even more of these avenues of communication. The Community Skin Health Journal (CSH) is the official journal of the IFD ( formally known as the Community Dermatology Journal). It is a dermatology resource for education health workers and the populations in under-served areas. It provides up to date, relevant information on the diagnosis and treatment of skin disease. The journal is published twice a year and is sent to more than 180 countries free of charge. All issues are available on line in the ILDS Resource Centre https://ilds.org/resource-centre/.

"I work for a small internet start-up where we’re creating an app to help people donate to charities more effectively. Knowing new skills and technologies are helping people is very fulfilling."