Case Mobile Photo – Clinical Photography with a Smartphone

Case Mobile Photo – Clinical Photography with a Smartphone

The Pirkanmaa Hospital District in cooperation with Medanets and Neagen is conducting a pilot project on a mobile photo feature at six different wards.

The Pirkanmaa Hospital District is the first hospital district in Finland to conduct a pilot project on a mobile photo feature for professional care work, realised in cooperation by Medanets and Neagen. The new feature allows saving a patient photo taken with a smartphone directly, via a secure connection, in the image archives the hospital or health centre uses.

Clinical photography is an important tool especially in highly visual branches of medicine, such as the wards included in the Pirkanmaa Hospital District mobile photo feature pilot project:

  • Wound Centre’s outpatient clinic
  • Lung and Skin Disease Ward 2
  • Musculoskeletal Disorder Ward 1
  • Musculoskeletal Disorder Ward 2
  • Cancer Ward RS1
  • Cancer Ward RS2

From digital camera to smartphone

Previously, transferring clinical photographs from a digital camera to a computer took some time, and some photos were not taken or saved because of this. Furthermore, each ward only had one digital camera at its disposal.

Due to the sensitive nature of clinical photographs, special attention must be paid to the appropriate documentation, saving and sharing of the images.

Nowadays, each of the piloting Pirkanmaa Hospital District wards has several smartphones used for clinical photography. In this case, a smartphone is more often present during treatment situations. Photos taken of patients and further information enclosed with them are now saved in real time in the correct patient context. To ensure proper data protection, the photos are not saved in the smartphone itself.

Promoting patient care

Pirkanmaa Hospital District adds the clinical images in the patients’ files and uses them in consultations, monitoring of treatment and teaching, for example.

  • Remote consulting – a clinician can provide advice on further treatment after having seen the photo
  • Monitoring of treatment – changes in tissues, progress of healing, etc.
  • Supporting teaching – using photos in for teaching purposes is “a whole new dimension”

The app is easy to use. It also goes without saying that it is much more convenient than our previous method. The app clearly has potential, and the common operating guidelines should be clarified further to eliminate any uncertainty that might hinder people from utilising it.

-Joni Sulin, nurse, Tampere University Hospital

When piloting the new solution, the Pirkanmaa Hospital District observed that the operating processes related to clinical photography need some further development. Employees were unsure of how the photos can be used and what the archiving will cost, for example. In future, instructions must be provided and agreements on rules must be made to reach the high usability requirements of the photographs.


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