ClickCare Café

Why You Can't Afford to Ignore Art as a Healthcare Provider

Posted by Lawrence Kerr on Wed, Apr 05, 2017 @ 03:05 PM

Rembrandt-Anatomy-Lesson-Dr.-Tulp-1024x775.jpegWe've always been enchanted and even obsessed with art, medicine, and the art of medicine. These are our passions, and the foundation of ClickCare.

Our co-founder, Cheryl, did a dual major at Smith College in Art History and Biochemistry. I've always loved the beauty and art in photography, video, woodworking, and in reconstructive surgery itself. And the entire iClickCare app is based on a profound appreciation of simplicity in design, and the nuanced art of medicine.

But, so many people ask -- with healthcare providers under such pressure, is it really practical to think about art in the context of medicine?We recently came across a New York times piece looking at new educational initiatives training medical providers and medical students to use art as a way of being better doctors.

Their goal was to help the new provider to become a more "thoughtful and meticulous observer." It may sound esoteric but the results are significant and hard-hitting. In fact, students of an art-and-medicine class at Yale were 10% more likely to pick up on important details on their patients, than did their peers. And students in a visual skills class made 38% more observations on a visual physical exam of their patients than did their peers.

When these educators speak of "training the eye" through art, that is precisely what we aim for in the iClickCare environment. Early on in iClickCare's history, people were surprised that we included photos in our collaboration tool. Originally, photos were deemed too high tech, and cameras too hard to operate. These days, so many people think secure texting is the way to go. But secure texting simply transmits a question, it doesn't improve our practice as doctors, teams, or as observers. When we use pictures, videos, and multidisciplinary conversations to care for our patients, we're not just doing medical collaboration for that individual patient, we're profoundly improving our capacity as healthcare providers and as healthcare teams.

The reality is that with iClickCare, we advance many of the same goals that are identified in these art and medicine classes. With the goal being to help healthcare providers:

  • Think broadly
  • Consider multiple interpretations
  • Observe closely
  • Empathize with the whole patient
  • Understand the context for your patient's condition.

As Harvard's Dr. Joel Katz (professor of Training the Eye: Improving the Art of Physical Diagnosis) shared, "We’re trying to teach them to trust their vision, to look carefully before making judgments.”

We're amazed that so many in the medical field see medical collaboration and medical photography as "optional" or as a "nice to have". If the third leading cause of death is medical errors, then these skills are far from optional -- they're life or death. 

If you want to work on medical photography, do healthcare collaboration, and see your patients differently, get the first chapter of our book on iPhone medical photography here:

Medical iPhone Photography

Tags: medical collaboration, best medical apps, healthcare collaboration

What is the Best Camera for Medical Photography?

Posted by Lawrence Kerr on Tue, Feb 11, 2014 @ 08:58 AM

cameracloseup resized 600


I'll admit it: I love cameras.

I'm the guy that buys (and actually reads) the geeky magazines about new camera gadgets. I go to camera stores just for fun. And I've been known to bring a 15-pound video camera to my children's school plays.

Plus, as a surgeon, I've found medical photography to be a crucial part of my practice. Since the '70s, I've used photos to show patients their progress, teach medical students, and support my own learning and progress. And once we started experimenting with telemedicine and medical collaboration -- eventually founding ClickCare -- photos became not just helpful, but a fundamental part of what it means to practice medicine. I've found incredible satisfaction and powerful patient outcomes from using telemedicine to send simple photos and collaborate with other providers.

Because of my passion for using photos in medicine, I'm sometimes tempted to search out the best or most high-tech cameras for medical and clinical photography. The truth, however, is that you don't need a fancy camera to take great and effective medical photos.

When someone asks about the best camera for medical photography, I recommend 3 things:

  1. Use your iPhone. Most of us have a pretty high-tech camera in our pockets at all times-- our smartphone. Because of the convenience factor alone, I recommend that medical providers start taking pictures with their iPhone. In addition to the convenience, ease of use, and ever-improving quality, the connectivity of these devices makes it incredibly easy to make the small jump to medical collaboration with telemedicine. However, the is one very big caveat here. Saving pictures on your camera's camera roll is not HIPAA-secure. So you need to use a platform like ClickCare that allows you to save photos on a separate, HIPAA-secure, protected camera roll.
  2. Use whatever you already have. If you don't have a smartphone with a camera that you use regularly, my next suggestion would be to use whatever camera you do already have. Maybe it's your daughters snap-and-shoot or the camera of a provider down the hall, but I suggest using what you have, getting in the habit of taking pictures, and then using that experience to decide if you want to upgrade. Remember that one place a patient's health information can be exposed is on the card inside your camera, so that should be treated with the same care as you would a patient's record.
  3. Use whatever is easiest. Finally, I encourage everyone to keep it simple! Instead of getting a 1% increase in photo quality by spending $3,000 on a camera and taking 3 full weeks to learn how to use it, choose a camera that feels easy and accessible. The important thing is using medical photography in your practice -- not necessarily taking gallery-ready photos.


Finally, get our guide on taking effective medical photos in less than 5 minutes:


Medical iPhone Photography


Image courtesy of auggie_tolosa on, used under Creative Commons rights.

Tags: medical collaboration, iPhone photography, Medical iPhone Photography, medical collaboration software, best medical apps, clinical photography, medical photography

How Secure are Your Medical Photos on the iPhone?

Posted by Lawrence Kerr on Thu, Jan 16, 2014 @ 08:34 AM

iclickcare iphone visit pic 300dpi 2 copy copy


Increasingly, taking photos is a part of our lives. We snap photos when we're out at dinner or on a trip. And we certainly want to take a picture when we see an interesting case or need to remember or share something about a patient.

With the significant fines and punishments for HIPAA violations, however, medical photography on your iphone or smartphone brings up a several HIPAA compliance and security issues:

  • If your phone gets lost, all photos on your camera roll are insecure
  • Once a photo is on your phone, it is tempting to email or text it, both of which are in conflict with HIPAA.
  • Photos on your camera roll may be susceptible to access by apps that are not HIPAA compliant.

So what is a person to do? It seems ridiculous to choose not to use technology in service of patient care. Here is the good news: you can and should use your iPhone or other smartphone for medical photography. In fact, we think that medical photography is a simple, powerful way to improve how we care for patients and make our lives as providers a little easier.

So here is a checklist to make sure that your medical photos are secure and useful:

  • Understand HIPAA. You don't need to drive yourself crazy, but a little understanding of the fines and penalties goes a long way 
  • Never put patient photos into your regular camera roll. Sometimes smartphone apps (with the exception of iClickCare) pull from your camera roll-- even sharing pictures without your knowledge. And even if that doesn't happen, your camera roll only has one layer of security -- the login password on your smartphone. So when dealing with patient photos, we recommend using a secure app like iClickCare that doesn't ever save photos to your camera roll. You'll know your pictures are safe, and used only for your purposes. 
  • Use some overall security strategies so you don't have to worry. When your technology is more secure overall, your photos are more secure, too. 
  • Don't email photos. Email is never a secure way to collaborate. 
  • Use apps that are explicitly HIPAA-secure. When you do collaborate, only use collaboration platforms that explicitly promise HIPAA security.


Security issues aside, we all want our medical photos to be a little bit better. Get the first chapter of our book on iphone photography for free:


medical photography introductory chapter

Tags: HIPAA, HITECH, HIPAA Collaboration, Telemedicine and HIPAA, HIPAA secure images, best medical apps, clinical photography, medical photography, clickcare, telemedicine law

The Best Medical Apps to Decrease Provider Burnout

Posted by Lawrence Kerr on Thu, Dec 19, 2013 @ 08:39 AM

iphone resized 600


With all the gift guides flying around the internet this time of year, our thoughts turned to the "gifts" that help us do our work better. Especially during the holiday season, handy tools like smartphone apps can contribute to decreasing provider burnout, a more easeful day, and better patient satisfaction.

As we quizzed our colleagues and dug into the research, we found some interesting trends when it comes to the best medical apps, especially in relation to making your day easier and helping to cut provider burnout:

  • People still aren't paying attention to HIPAA. Many people continue to use email, text messaging, and the in-phone camera roll, despite the consequences. Our observation is that apps that aren't HIPAA-compliant actually increase burnout, with the extra worry and stress they cause.
  • The humblest apps are the most used. We found that despite the hundreds of complicated apps that exist, the most commonly used are the simplest -- a finding that definitely resonates with our own experience. Sometimes you just need the easiest tool, not the most sophisticated one.

In thinking about the best medical apps to recommend, there are some surprising ones on the list. Here's our rundown, to help make your workday as healthcare providers a little saner -- or even more fun:

  • Apps that help you care for patients. There are all kinds of complicated patient communication systems, but some of our favorite apps are simple tools that make it easier to communicate with patients, even when you're in the same room together. Often called "point of care education," these apps range from games to sophisticated modeling programs. Software Advice, a company that reviews medical software, recently put together a list of doctor-recommended education apps that make visits more effective.
  • Evernote for studiers. Our medical students may be the most common studiers that use Evernote to keep their thoughts -- and notes -- together. But we all have times when we're "studying," whether for a new research project or to investigate something for our office. Evernote is our favorite study tool, easily syncing across devices and cutting the stress that comes from losing notes.
  • Apps for collaborating. Call us biased, but we prefer the label "innovators." Our iClickCare app is still the best, easiest-to-use, medical collaboration app, hands-down. For other kinds of collaboration (document-based and not HIPAA-compliant), like intra-office collaboration on logistics, we look to 37 Signals.
  • Oldies but goodies. Everyone knows Epocrates, and for good reason. The app has turned into our medical dictionary, calculator, and encyclopedia -- quickly becoming indespensable.
  • Simple browsers. Mobile Safari ends up being the app we use the most. Why? It's adaptable to what we need. Whether it's easily finding a resource for a patient, looking up an address, or learning more about a certain condition, we find that having the "internet in our pocket" makes our lives flow more easily.
  • Simple ways to connect with family. As our work lives get crazier, it seems even more important to stay in touch with our loved ones. We love FaceTime for virtual snacktime with a granddaughter, a chat with a spouse, or a check-in with a colleague. And never forget about the power of simply picking up the phone to connect with a friend, family member, or teammate at work! 

Let us know which apps make your life easier. And for our guide to the world of telemedicine (apps and beyond), click here: 

ClickCare Quick Guide to Telemedicine

Tags: healthcare provider burnout, provider burnout, telemedicine solutions, iPhone medical apps, telemedicine and hippa, best medical apps

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