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Clinical images taken by, or provided by, patients

Case Study Six

A father presented to the Emergency Department with a photo he had taken of his son’s wound when it first occurred. The wound has since become infected. It would be useful to have a copy of the father’s photo for the son’s medical record for future treatment purposes.

In this case, the photo is the property of the father. You can ask for a copy of the photo, explaining how it will be used, and where it will be stored. In most cases,
patients or their representatives are likely to agree with such a request, but they are not obliged to provide you with a copy of their photo. You should explain that, once the photo forms part of the health record, it has to be retained along with the rest of the record. It cannot be deleted until the retention period expires.

Image quality

The quality of the clinical image is a key consideration. Think about whether the resolution of the mobile device you are using can provide the image quality you will
require; accurate colour retention and image definition are vital if the image is to be used to assist diagnosis and treatment, or for research purposes. This is particularly the case when transmitting images of previously obtained diagnostic images or pathology reports.