Dialog Box

Skin Health Institute

Spot Diagnosis


Spot Diagnosis is a podcast series that examines the skin complaints which are commonly encountered by general practitioners. It is tailored specifically for medical students, and GPs, but should also be useful for nurses and pharmacists.

The series provides evidence-based, up-to-date medical education & information aimed at upskilling medical practitioners in treating skin complaints, in order to improve the skin health of our communities.

One in six initial presentations to general practitioners are about skin problems (1), yet dermatology teaching in medical schools is limited and variable (2).  Spot Diagnosis aims to help address these issues for medical practitioners. 

Series 1 of Spot Diagnosis has been recorded by Associate Professor Alvin Chong and Dr Tom Kovitwanichkanont, speaking with leading dermatologists who have sub-specialty expertise in those skin conditions being addressed. Each episode is supported by other information and education resources for you to access on our website.

We hope you find these podcasts informative and useful.   Please rate and review them.  Your feedback will help us develop further resources for you, so will certainly be appreciated.

Series One

The COVID-19 virus is deadly. It is insidious, and it is going to be with us for a very long time. How do we continue to provide a clinical service in the grips of a pandemic? What are the cutaneous manifestations of COVID-19? How common are these cutaneous manifestations? What does it mean when a patient presents with perniosis in this time? What about our patients who are immunosuppressed on biologics, what do we do with them?

These are complex and difficult questions, and to help us answer these, we are very fortunate to have with us two eminent dermatologists from the USA, Professor Kanade Shinkai from UCSF and Dr Esther Freeman at Harvard.

S1.E9: Urticaria (Hives)

In this episode, we discuss urticaria which is otherwise known as hives, it’s a common condition that affects about 25% of the population at some point in their lives.

Urticaria is a common skin condition in which we see transient, smooth, raised, and very itchy areas of skin. Often you see small lumps in the skin, often the size of a mosquito bite, but they can actually be much larger and hives can sometimes group together and form large areas of swelling in the skin known as giant urticaria.

Associate Professor Alvin Chong & Dr Tom Kovi discuss urticaria with a specialist dermatologist, Dr Katherine Armour. As you will hear, Dr Armour has a special interest in urticaria.

S1.E7: Eczema (Part 1)
S1.E8: ECZEMA (Part 2)

Eczema (also called atopic dermatitis) is a common chronic inflammatory skin disease with a greater prevalence in children than adults, although it can affect any age. Estimated population prevalence is 20.3% in 1-year-olds but decreases to 16% in 4-year-olds, highlighting the fact that a significant proportion of children outgrow eczema. The disease is important not only because it is common, but also due to the significant impact it has on patient quality of life, ability to participate in school or work and their mental wellbeing.

In the first episode, Associate Professor Alvin Chong  & Dr Tom Kovi discuss the epidemiology of eczema, what causes it and the clinical aspects with Associate Professor John Su.  In the second episode, they carefully consider the treatment and management of eczema. 


We study acne in this episode - a common skin problem that affects almost everyone at some time during their life. Acne is a skin condition that has a number of causes, with a number of factors leading to it. It's extremely common especially in adolescents and young adults. Eight out of ten Australians will develop acne during their life with about 5% experiencing severe acne.

This episode explores 

  • what causes acne, 
  • how to recognise the different types of acne, and 
  • discusses the treatment options now available.

Associate Professor Alvin Chong  & Dr Tom Kovi discuss melanoma with Associate Professor Victoria Mar, Head of the Victorian Melanoma Service. Because melanoma is such a significant topic, it is being covered in two episodes. The first looks at the epidemiology and diagnosis of melanoma. In the second episode, we talk about its treatment and prevention – and a little about the use of artificial intelligence.


Psoriasis is a common chronic immune-mediated disease that presents primarily on the skin, but it's often associated with other systemic manifestations affecting many body organs, particularly the joints.  It has been estimated that the incidence of psoriasis ranges anything from less than half of 1% up to more than 10%, but the most widely accepted figure is that psoriasis affects somewhere between 2% and 3% of the general population.

In these two episodes Associate Professor Alvin Chong and Dr Tom Kovi discuss psoriasis with Associate Professor Peter Foley, a leading expert in the treatment of psoriasis. 

Because psoriasis is such a large topic, this information is spread over two episodes. The first (Psoriasis - Part 1) discusses what psoriasis is, epidemiology, clinical manifestations, and comorbidities. The second (Psoriasis - Part 2) discusses the management of psoriasis.

S1.E1: The Skin Eaters (Tinea)

"Superficial fungal infection, or tinea, is really common. In fact, it is one of the most common forms of infection, affecting up to 25% of humans," says Associate Professor Alvin Chong. In this episode,  Associate Professor Alvin Chong and Dr Tom Kovitwanichkanont discuss one of the most common skin problems: fungal infections of the skin, hair and nails known as tinea.  Tinea has a variety of clinical manifestations and affects all age groups, ranging from tinea pedis in adults to tinea capitis in pre-pubertal children.

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[1] The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners. Curriculum for Australian General Practice 2016: DE16 - Dermatology contextual unit. East Melbourne, VIC: RACGP. Date unknown. Available at https://www.racgp.org.au/education/education-providers/curriculum/contextual-units/presentations/de16-dermatology [accessed 20 Dec 2019]

[2] Gupta A, Chong AH, Scarff CE, Huilgol SC. Dermatology teaching in Australian Medical Schools. Australas J Dermatol. 2017 Aug;58(3):e73-e78. doi: 10.1111/ajd.12486. Epub 2016 May 4.