Monday, June 28, 2010

Focusing on the Clinician With a Camera

You can listen to my ReachMD Mobile Medical Minute segment here.

You have a powerful clinical tool built right into your phone: the camera function. Dr. Joseph Kim, author of the blog, tells you how you can begin to build a useful, instructive, shareable clinical image library— and start getting the most out of your smartphone's camera.
A picture is worth a thousand words. That cliché is true, especially in medicine. And if you’re using a smartphone with a built-camera, you have the opportunity to easily capture digital images of unusual or interesting cases that could be useful to students and colleagues.
You’re listening to the ReachMD Mobile Medical Minute. I’m Dr. Joseph Kim.

Earlier in my career, I participated in several overseas medical mission trips. I used to take photos of exotic rashes and other physical findings so that I could share them with my students and colleagues. Now, thanks to the camera that most of us have built right into the phone in our pocket, we have the ability to visually document interesting cases— wherever we encounter them.

To get started using your smartphone camera as a practical clinical tool— First, always carry permission documents in your pocket. This way, you’ll always be prepared to ask your patient for permission and you’ll eliminate any privacy-related barriers.

Maybe it’s hard to imagine having the time to think about one more thing during an office visit. No problem, inform your nurses and support staff about your intent to take pictures of noteworthy physical findings. This way, they’ll alert you when they see something you may be interested in.

If you have teaching responsibilities, or you precept either medical students or residents , clinical pictures can help you facilitate educational discussions by making them more visual, bringing clinical cases to life. And because this is digital technology, you can start the conversation with a picture-message from anywhere you happen to be. Once you start making your phone part of the discussion — others may catch the shutterbug, and start sharing their interesting patient photos with you — and before long, you’ll have a library of instructive medical photos.

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