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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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:
Image courtesy of auggie_tolosa on flickr.com, used under Creative Commons rights.