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, when seeing patients, influenced the decision to develop our IG secure clinical photography feature – PhotoSAF on the Consultant Connect App. In this blog post he explains the problems faced by many clinicians when taking and using clinical photographs.
The challenge for clinicians
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 patient record but I would need a connection for my phone which I often don’t have to hand 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 IG secure clinical photography, via the PhotoSAF feature, on the Consultant Connect App is such an exciting tool for clinicians like me. There’s no doubt that the most accessible camera in your practice or consultation room is likely to be your mobile phone. The PhotoSAF feature is available via the Consultant Connect App and allows me to take photos knowing that they won’t be stored on my phone or in my photo cloud. I can ask my patient for consent, 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. Once I have taken the photos, they are automatically and immediately sent to my nhs.net email address and are also available directly from a secure cloud. In just a few clicks, I can save the photos to the patient record or send them to other clinicians via e-RS and NHS email there and then.
The Consultant Connect App is IG secure and GDPR compliant but, as importantly, it’s quick and easy to use. 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.
The use of the PhotoSAF feature on the Consultant Connect App is ‘universal’ and increasingly being used across different specialties, such as:
- Cardiology – Taking photos of ECG/Echo Reports
- Ophthalmology – Taking photos of Retinal Scans, OCT Layers, Visual Field tests
- Diabetic Podiatry – Using the app to transform the way podiatrists work together with consultants in different specialties to create remote MDTs to discuss patients before they are even seen.
The Consultant Connect App and PhotoSAF feature is free for Consultant Connect Advice & Guidance customers. For more information about how it’s being used across the UK click here.
If you have any questions please contact us on 01865 261467 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.