ClickCare Café

Are High-End Cameras and Hardware Key to Telemedicine Success?

Posted by Lawrence Kerr on Thu, Jul 23, 2015 @ 07:00 AM


For a long time, telemedicine was considered to be something sophisticated and difficult. It has often been seen as the province of expensive equipment, complex cameras, and burdensome scheduling.

Of course, when video teleconferencing was the only option for remote collaboration and consultation, that was the reality to some extent. We saw so many hospitals invest in expensive hardware, only to find scheduling tricky, workflow difficult, and the technology very quickly becoming obsolete.

The reason we have been such vocal advocates for Hybrid Store and Forward telemedicine is that you can use any computer or smartphone to do the telemedicine consult, and at your convenience, since you don't have to be available for a videoconference at the same time of other providers.

The cameras that iClickCare users use to capture images of patients for these consults are, amazingly enough, their smartphones. We've found that when used through iClickCare (which doesn't use your phone's camera roll), these images are both HIPAA secure and of more than adequate quality.

But can the camera in your phone -- the one that's always in your pocket -- be good enough?

Apparently institutional thinkers and government regulators and reimbursement specialists can't believe it. Reams of policy and procedures have been written and payment for simple secure store and forward telemedicine has been slow to be accepted by CMS.

In our experience, and from stories of iClickCare users across the country -- smartphone cameras are actually superior to regular cameras, since everyone already knows how to use them. We did extensive testing in order to write our book iPhone Medical Photography and documented the validity of replacing the complex with simple. That is why we were so interested to notice a blinded study that finding that several smartphones outperformed a respected digital camera. Of these, the iPhone was top of the list. The authors successfully removed variables in the design of the study by blinding the study, using more objective lay evaluators, common objectives, and random camera order. As we teach, the principles of good medical photography are even more important than camera type.

And above all, the most important thing is not what you're using, but that you just do it -- that you work to collaborate with the tools available to you, whatever those may be.

Click below for our free primer on Hybrid Store-and-Forward telemedicine -- so you don't need expensive hardware.


ClickCare Quick Guide to Hybrid Store-and-Forward

Tags: telemedicine, iPhone photography, Medical iPhone Photography, hybrid store and forward medical collaboration

Are You Making HIPAA Mistakes in Sending Medical Photos Online?

Posted by Lawrence Kerr on Thu, Feb 13, 2014 @ 08:54 AM

babyemail resized 600

(Reviewed and updated May 18, 2016)

Recently, we've shared our suggestions on how to share patient files securely and the best ways to take medical photos. From those posts, an additional question came up from our readers who are using technology but still trying to stay HIPAA secure...

How do I send medical photos securely over the internet?

Good question! Many of the tactics for staying HIPAA-safe while sending medical photos over the internet came up in our recent posts, but there are a couple of specific things to keep in mind.

When sending medical photos on the internet, don't make these HIPAA mistakes:

  • Texting from your phone. As with texting patient information, you can't text photos unless you use a secure service. Merely texting from your smartphone definitely won't do the trick when it comes to HIPAA, even if it's just a patient photo (without their record.) 
  • Saving photos on your camera roll. Few people realize that the camera roll on your smartphone is not HIPAA-secure. ClickCare uses a HIPAA-secure camera roll for that very reason.
  • Sending photos via email. Email isn't HIPAA-secure, even "secure" email. If you're looking for the kind of sharing that email and photos can give you, consider doing medical collaboration with a hybrid store-and-forward telemedicine platform, which can let you share photos while not running afoul of HIPAA. 
  • Leaving them on your data card. A final thing to be careful of is the data card in your digital camera. If you store your data card in a place where people can get to it, or you're sharing your camera with other people, that data card is not HIPAA secure. The system we recommend is to erase the data card as soon as you've uploaded your photo to the secure sharing platform you're using. 
  • Saving them on your hard drive. As safe as it may seem, in most contexts it is not HIPAA-compliant to leave patient photos on your computer's hard drive. So use the same protocol as with a data card -- erase the photos as soon as they're uploaded to your telemedicine platform. Did you know your copier also has a hard drive - the old way may not be so safe either!


For an in-depth look at HIPAA mistakes you might not know about, get our guide:

New Call to action

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


Tags: iPhone photography, Medical iPhone Photography, medical collaboration software, HIPAA, HITECH, Telemedicine and HIPAA, HIPAA secure images, mhealth, iPhone medical apps, medical photography

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

We love our new medical iPad app & iPhone app, but they need attitude

Posted by Lawrence Kerr on Tue, Feb 19, 2013 @ 12:31 PM

We are excited about our brand new iClickCare® iPad app and updated iPhone app -- and how they can help you iPad and iPhone medical collaboration appwith healthcare collaboration. ClickCare® was formed for one reason: to help medical providers (17 years ago, we called them doctors, nurses and allied health professionals) help each other to help their patients. The iClickCare for the iPad app is about to ship to the Apple iTunes Store where it will join iClickCare for the iPhone. Both apps can be evaluated free for 14 days.

We use the guiding Mantra:

  • Access -- for the patient to the right care, at the right time, in the right place
  • Collaboration -- for those who care for patients on behalf of the patients and themselves
  • Education -- for those who join us anew or follow in our footsteps

We also have design goals of Simple, Secure and Spectacular.

With the hard work of our lead team, Marc Norman, Greg Born, and Nathan Uno, we are pleased to announce the new "iClickCare for the iPad" and upgraded "iClickCare for the iPhone" apps.

The new app features include even more:

  • Simple:
    • Easier to read.
    • A calming relaxing visual presentation.
    • A page design that mimics your workflow as a medical professional.
  • Secure
    • Backend enhanced security when images are served up.
    • A private, secure password-protected camera roll.
    • Continued high level SSL.
    • Firewall friendly.
  • Spectacular
    • Nothing really new to learn. iClickCare for the iPad is intuitive and integrated with our Web and iPhone apps.
    • Carefully chosen colors to highlight the patient and soften the intrusion of a form.
    • Maximum use of the Retina Display which supercedes our common encounters with imaging today.

We love this technology and are especially proud of iClickCare®. We need to make note, though, that for good patient care, efficient and cost effective healthcare, and a satisfying career, each of us needs to have the attitude that we want to collaborate. It takes effort on our part, no doubt, but the effort is worth the gain. To use iClickCare, we must do something different and take one step away from ourselves. The alternative is tedious telephone tag and reams of paper to be read and signed. The other alternative, “doing nothing”, is not acceptable.

We will be updating our book Medical iPhone Photography to INCLUDE being able to take pictures on the iPad as well as the iPhone. Stay tuned. In the meantime, to celebrate, we are offering an electronic copy of "Medical iPhone Photography" when you schedule an iClickCare demo.

Download Chapter 1 for your reading pleasure:

medical photography introductory chapter

Tags: Medical iPhone Photography, iPhone medical apps, iPhone, iPad, iPad medical apps

Telehealth and the Big Blue Marble, Earth

Posted by Lawrence Kerr on Mon, Feb 06, 2012 @ 11:08 PM

Startling images were released this week by NASA.  They are a continuation of the theme Blue Marble, the first in a series being released from Apollo 17. The current set was taken from 28,000 miles away by the Suomi NPP satellite on October 2011.

collaborate with colleagues where ever you are

Attribution: NASA

Red, Blue, Green and more, combine to make a greater whole.

Pictures, Words and a collabortive attitude, combine to give: 

Access, Collaboration, Education

The images are awesome and inspiring. Not only a model of graphic explanation of data, but also the collaboration of color (red, green, blue) and of thermal infra-red imagery, two types of ocean data, radiotelemetry and observations of Antarctica -- they all combine (collaborate) to make a whole greater than its parts.

Telemedicine and telehealth are two names that elicit thoughts of technology. Medical collaboration is far more than technology.  Medical collaboration is an attitude, an attitude that values results and substance over regulation, stimulus and reimbursement. This attitude can be successful without technology. But, in this complicated world, technology can make it easier.  

access, collaboration, education

This diagram clarifies a complex process, and the process shows us a new view of our world. We feel that pictures and words supported by a strong technology can do the same for our patients. Carry on the conversation with us. 

medical photography introductory chapter  You can't produce these incredible pictures with your iPhone, but download this first and other chapters for free, or buy our book Medical iPhone Photography online at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or iBooks.

We thank Goddard scientist Norman Kuring  for compiling these images.


Tags: telemedicine, medical collaboration, telehealth, iPhone photography, Medical iPhone Photography

ClickCare is Announcing the Second Dallas Wound Care Symposium

Posted by Lawrence Kerr on Tue, Jan 10, 2012 @ 10:14 AM

Telemedicine, particularly Store and Forward Telemedicine, is extremely valuable for taking care of patients with wounds.

We are pleased and proud to announce and support the Dallas Wound Care Symposium 2012. Presentations will be done by true leaders in wound care, research and teaching:

Matthew Pompeo, MD graduated from the University of Miami School of Medicine and completed his General Surgery residency and fellowship at Parkland Memorial Hospital. Dr. Pompeo is Board Certified in General Surgery, has 15 years of experience in wound care, and is the Medical Director of Wound Care at Vibra Specialty Hospital of Dallas.

Kris Dalseg, MS PT CWS CLT graduated from Texas A&M in 1988 with a BS in HEED. In 1992, she received her Masters of Physical Therapy from TWU. In 2006, she received her certified wound care specialty license, and her certified lymphedema therapy license in 2009. Kris has practiced wound care in a variety of settings from outpatient, skilled nursing facilities, long term acute care facilities, to rural home health. Kris’s goal has been to achieve the highest level of care possible in the treatment of her patients. She is currently working as a CWS in long term care facilities where her primary function is to teach and train all staff involved in the patient's wound care. 

ClickCare helps Wound Care

The symposium will include:

  • Free Event Parking
  • Continental Breakfast
  • Catered Lunches
  • Vendor Exhibits and Demonstrations - Giveaways and Prizes
  • iPhone Photography Lab
  • Mobile Health Collaboration Demo

Medical iPhone Photography, the new book, big enough to fill your knowledge gaps and small enough to be put into you pocket, will be available.

The brochure is available now.

The venue is Dallas Marriott Suites, Dallas and early registration is now open.

Tags: Medical iPhone Photography, mhealth, wound care

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