Improving Skin cancer Management with ARTificial Intelligence (SMARTI): Protocol for a preintervention/postintervention trial of an artificial intelligence system used as a diagnostic aid for skin cancer management in a specialist dermatology setting

Claire Felmingham, Samantha MacNamara, William Cranwell, Narelle Williams, Miki Wada, Nikki R. Adler, Zongyuan Ge, Alastair Sharfe, Adrian Bowling, Martin Haskett, Rory Wolfe, Victoria Mar

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9 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction Convolutional neural networks (CNNs) can diagnose skin cancers with impressive accuracy in experimental settings, however, their performance in the real-world clinical setting, including comparison to teledermatology services, has not been validated in prospective clinical studies. Methods and analysis Participants will be recruited from dermatology clinics at the Alfred Hospital and Skin Health Institute, Melbourne. Skin lesions will be imaged using a proprietary dermoscopic camera. The artificial intelligence (AI) algorithm, a CNN developed by MoleMap Ltd and Monash eResearch, classifies lesions as benign, malignant or uncertain. This is a preintervention/postintervention study. In the preintervention period, treating doctors are blinded to AI lesion assessment. In the postintervention period, treating doctors review the AI lesion assessment in real time, and have the opportunity to then change their diagnosis and management. Any skin lesions of concern and at least two benign lesions will be selected for imaging. Each participant's lesions will be examined by a registrar, the treating consultant dermatologist and later by a teledermatologist. At the conclusion of the preintervention period, the safety of the AI algorithm will be evaluated in a primary analysis by measuring its sensitivity, specificity and agreement with histopathology where available, or the treating consultant dermatologists' classification. At trial completion, AI classifications will be compared with those of the teledermatologist, registrar, treating dermatologist and histopathology. The impact of the AI algorithm on diagnostic and management decisions will be evaluated by: (1) comparing the initial management decision of the registrar with their AI-assisted decision and (2) comparing the benign to malignant ratio (for lesions biopsied) between the preintervention and postintervention periods. Ethics and dissemination Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC) approval received from the Alfred Hospital Ethics Committee on 14 February 2019 (HREC/48865/Alfred-2018). Findings from this study will be disseminated through peer-reviewed publications, non-peer reviewed media and conferences. Trial registration number NCT04040114.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere050203
Number of pages9
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jan 2022


  • adult dermatology
  • dermatological tumours
  • dermatology

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