BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVES: Dermoscopy aids in clinical decision-making. However, time pressure is a common reason precluding its use. We evaluated the effect of time on lesion recognition and management decisions utilising clinical and dermoscopic images.
METHOD: In all, 100 dermoscopic images were presented to 15 dermatologists with experience in dermoscopy and seven non-experts (dermatology residents). Each lesion was displayed thrice in succession. The dermoscopic image was initially presented for 1 s (t1). The same dermoscopic image was shown again without time constraints (t2) and then a final time with additional images of the clinical context (t3). Participants provided a diagnosis, their level of confidence and biopsy predilection after evaluating each image.
RESULTS: For benign lesions, both groups rarely changed their diagnosis. However, an improvement in the number of correct benign diagnoses was observed when the lesion was shown in a clinical context. For malignant lesions, both groups improved when more time and clinical context was given; nevertheless, non-experts were more likely to change the diagnosis towards the correct one as more time was given and tended to perform more biopsies, in particular of benign lesions. Limitations were a small number of participants and an artificial study setting.
CONCLUSION: Dermoscopy uses analytical and non-analytical reasoning approaches. We suggest that non-analytical reasoning is employed when rapid clinical decisions need to be made, especially during the evaluation of benign lesions. We conclude that dermoscopy is relatively rapid and non-time-consuming technique that adds relevant information and guides clinicians towards appropriate management decisions.