Instructiderm™ Creates Skin Lesion Models for Learning
What happens when nurses identify a big problem and have an idea to help solve that problem? We innovate. First, we would like to speak about the problems we identified- skin cancer and the lack of standardized dermatology education. Next, we will share our invention, Instructional Dermatology Surface Models (IDSMsTM).
Lisa Ousley, DNP, FNP, Retha Gentry, DNP, FNP, Candice Nicole Short, DNP, FNP-C, RN
Co-Founders, Instructiderm™ LLC
2019 NursePitch™ Winners
What happens when nurses identify a big problem and have an idea to help solve that problem? We innovate. First, we would like to speak about the problems we identified- skin cancer and the lack of standardized dermatology education. Next, we will share our invention, Instructional Dermatology Surface Models (IDSMsTM). Finally, we want to discuss the directional movement of our innovation and company, InstructiDerm TM LLC .
Skin Cancer is a BIG Problem
The incidence and prevalence of skin cancer and inadequate dermatology education create significant health problems for people. Skin cancer statistics are shocking; and there are substantial disparities in the recognition, diagnosis, and survival rates for persons of color. Some of the skin cancer statistics which nurses should know include the following:
- 10,000 Americans are diagnosed with skin cancer daily
- Two Americans die of Melanoma every hour
- Basal Cell Carcinoma is the most common cancer in the world
- Melanoma is the most common skin cancer in children and adolescents
- Melanoma accounts for 3% of all pediatric cancers
Huge healthcare gaps exist for persons with skin of color. Nurses and other clinicians are often not aware that melanoma occurs on non-exposed skin with less pigment in African Americans, Asians, Filipinos, Indonesians, and Native Hawaiians. For people with skin of color, 60-75% of these lesions present on the palms, soles, mucous membranes, and nails. Often when these lesions are identified they are in a much later-stage and the morbidity and mortality impact is greater. The disparity that exists in survival rates is unacceptable. Between 2007-2013, the estimated 5-year skin cancer survival rate in African Americans was 69% as compared to 94% in Caucasians. This fact reveals a 25% disparity in survival rates between the two groups.
Nurses Lack Standardized Skin Education
As nurse educators, we know that significant barriers to dermatology education exist. These obstacles are related to inadequate training in skin assessment, inconsistent clinical experiences, and a lack of standardized dermatology curricula. Since nurses are typically the first professionals in contact with the patient, we are positioned to perform adept skin assessments.
Students and licensed clinicians are expected to be skilled in performing a skin assessment and demonstrating competency in lesion recognition, diagnosis, and management. However, nursing, medical, and allied health curricula include minimal education about the skin- the largest organ of the human body. InstructiDerm TM maintains that effective skin assessment and lesion training is essential.
A New Invention: IDSMsTM
Prompted by the clinical urgency to improve dermatology education in the recognition and diagnosis of skin disease in all skin types, we created Instructional Dermatology Surface Models (IDSMs TM). The models are constructed of high-resolution digital photographs of skin disease printed on transparent, flexible plastic. The 2D and 3D models can simulate most of the 3000, skin rashes, lesions, or dermatologic disorders. However, as a matter of clinical priority, the first prototypes are of skin cancer (Figure 1).
Instructional Dermatology Surface Models (IDSMsTM)
Note. In each pair of photos above, the original skin cancer photograph is on the left and the IDSMTM photograph is on the right. From left to right the pairs illustrate Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC), Melanoma, and Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC).
IDSMsTM can be placed on various skin surfaces (human or mannequin) regardless of texture, age, or skin color. These models are adjunctive teaching tools. Since IDSMsTM are created from high-resolution photographs of the lesions, they can authentically replicate skin cancers and most other skin diseases. The models can be used in skills labs, simulations labs, and in classrooms. IDSMsTM can be placed on human or inanimate subjects: patients; mannequins; prostheses; or lab partners. This allows standardization of the clinical experience.
Innovation offers opportunities and obstacles. Our path of invention has not always been smooth. It has been stalled at times by life and a pandemic; however, we continue to move forward. Teamwork drives this innovation, with the belief that our “invention” can improve the skin health and outcomes for patients.
The idea for IDSMs was conceived by nurses in the simulation lab. As nurse innovators, during this journey we have discovered that the peripheral reach of IDSMsTM extends beyond nursing. We project use of these models in allied healthcare, non-healthcare professionals, within communities, and high-risk populations.
The process of innovation is both exhilarating and arduous. We started with proving the intellectual property, utility patent application to publication, and evolving prototype development. We have become invention researchers, business and marketing planners, and innovation pitchers. We have submitted publications and posters; requested grants (some accepted-some not); and delivered international, national, regional, and local podium presentations. We have created a company, InstructiDerm TM LLC, and will launch our informational website in the coming months at InstruciDermLLC.com