Dr David Griffiths is a practising GP and the Medical Director of Consultant Connect. His frustration at how difficult it is to take clinical photos securely and safely influenced the decision to develop PhotoSAF. Here he explains the problems faced by clinicians when taking and using photographs.
One of the most frustrating aspects of GP work is the multi-click process. So many relatively simple administrative tasks become long and complicated because both the software and hardware are not in sync with my needs.
Clinical photography is a case in point. I use my phone for photos; we used to have a dedicated digital camera but it was never to be found at the critical moment and I wasted a lot of time looking for it. Phones also take better photos these days.
The problem is that I don’t want the photos to stay in my phone’s memory or be backed up. I may also need to action photos quickly once I’ve taken them, which usually means emailing them to myself or a colleague. I could upload them directly to the clinical record but I would need a connection for my phone which I often don’t have with me and the process is clunky and slow. I could do it later but then the photos will be backed up to the “my photos” cloud and I’ll have to remember to delete them.
A further complication is identifying the patient who is the subject of the photos. If I am emailing photos to myself I prefer not to mention which patient is pictured. This means that, when I do email photos to myself, I will have to remember who the patient is and act on it later. Are you confused yet? I could go on!
The end result of all this is that I take fewer photos than I would ideally like to. I would prefer to use photos more often to ask for dermatology advice and guidance. I would also prefer to be able to record many skin problems regularly over time for comparison purposes. There are other examples. If a picture is worth a thousand words, easier photography is going to save me a lot of writing time!
That’s why PhotoSAF is such an exciting development for clinicians like me. I can take photos knowing that they won’t be stored on my phone or in my photo cloud. I can add an NHS number and notes, meaning there is no risk of me forgetting who is in the photo or why I was taking it. Finally, the photos are immediately available in the secure login area of Consultant Connect. I can save the photos to the patient record or send them to other clinicians via ERS and NHS email there and then.
It’s safe and secure but, as importantly, it’s quick and easy. It takes the long, drawn out, manual process of today and replaces it with a system that gives secure access to photos in seconds. It is intuitive and effective. It makes clinical photography effortless, which is why I think that clinicians will prefer to use it. It’s simply a bonus that it’s also the safest way of taking photos.
PhotoSAF is free for Consultant Connect Advice & Guidance customers. It can also be purchased separately non its own. If you would like to discuss rolling out PhotoSAF in your area, please contact us on 01865 261467 or email email@example.com. At the moment PhotoSAF is only available for purchase by CCGs, Trusts, GP Federations or similar organisations – we are not able to offer individual subscriptions at this time.