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Improve your clinical photography with this simple blue background solution

BlueScreen The importance of an appropriate background is indisputable in medical photography. Medical practices with dedicated photo rooms typically have large blue backgrounds which provide an appropriate level of contrast from the subject area.

However, consistent clinical photography backgrounds can be challenging in practices where photos are taken in a variety of exam rooms which may not be equipped with backgrounds for patient photos. Luckily there is a simple and affordable solution for practices wishing to improve the consistency of their patient photos by adding blue backgrounds to every exam room.

When you don’t have room for a dedicated photo room, or space is an issue a basic window blind can provide professional results without the cost or clutter of a professional photography backdrop. These standard window blinds are the same type you may find in your home. These blinds are available in the navy blue colors that are optimal for skin contrast desired by medical photographers. When the background is not being used, it can simply be retracted so as not to clutter the office.

Here is example of what their photos look like with and without a standardized the background:

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Not only will a good background improve the contrast of your photos, but the reference point of the background will help your staff to better frame their photos. Best of all, these blinds can be purchased on Amazon for around $40. You can find the product here: http://amzn.to/1TQB6gF

Consistent clinical photography is essential for every aesthetic practice and this small investment can help you make big improvements to your photography.

 

 

 

Apple has more than 800 Engineers obsessing over the camera in your mobile device. Great news for Clinical Photography.

Apple I-Phone 6

Apple has hired more than 800 engineers to only work on perfecting the most-used part of the iPhone: the camera.
It may seem like a lot for one piece of a phone, but the camera is actually made of 200 pieces, says Graham Townsend, the director who oversees it all, in an interview with “60 Minutes”.

“To capture one image, there’s actually 24 billion operations going on,” Townsend told Charlie Rose.

One way the small army of engineers has made family photos better is by building a way to counteract people’s shaky hands.

Inside the camera are four tiny wires, each half the width of a human hair. The four wires create a “microsuspension” of the camera parts that can absorb the shaking from hands to get a steady shot.

Townsend’s team also has its own lab to test how the camera photographs in different lighting situations. The engineers have to calibrate the camera to take the best shot, whether it’s the bright light of high noon over the camera or the yellow-ish dim of sunset.

Here’s the full video where Townsend takes people into the camera lab.

Click here to see original article

Take Control of Your Clinical Photography in 2016!

A new year is always a good opportunity to explore ways to improve your practices efficiency and profitability. If you find yourself struggling with medial photography, RxPhoto may be just the tool you need to take control of your medical photography in 2016. RxPhoto employs mobile and cloud technologies to streamline the process of capturing, cataloging and managing medical photos. The software is poised to become the industry standard for clinical photography by providing physicians and clinicians with a mobile alternative to traditionally expensive and bulky clinical photography hardware.

1. Speed
RxPhoto saves valuable time by streamlining the process of capturing and managing photos. Clinicians who use a traditional digital camera spend an average of 14 minutes per patient encounter snapping photos, transferring images and labeling photos. RxPhoto users average 4 minutes per patient encounter.

Photo-Process

RxPhoto: Image Guide Illustrations

2. Consistency
RxPhoto improves the consistency of your photos by providing a wide range of tools to help your staff take accurate before and after photos every time. The software uses the mobile device’s accelerometer to tell you if you are holding the camera straight. Illustrated guides also provide the user with guides for aligning various anatomy areas. RxPhoto also provides users with a patented “Ghosting” feature which dramatically improves photo consistency by enabling them to use a previous photo as a guide when taking a new photo.

3. Accessibility
Using cloud-based photo storage means that your staff will be able to access photos from any office computer or mobile device, all while remaining fully compliant with HIPAA. You’ll be able to track patient treatment more efficiently while also communicating progress in a simplified, easy-to-access and visual manner. AppwoRx also enables you to facilitate inter-office referrals, supplement insurance claims, illustrate services and thoroughly engage patients on a more personal level.

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4. Privacy
Mobile device storage does not meet HIPAA compliance standards and practices who use mobile devices to capture and store medical photos could be subject to large fines. RxPhoto provides a HIPAA compliant solution for your mobile device by pushing images directly to a HIPAA compliant cloud server. Users can be managed by your administrator and all user activity is logged and easily accessible, ensuring your practice complies with the most stringent HIPAA compliance standards.

5. Reliability
More than 500 physicians around the world rely on RxPhoto to capture and manage their medical photography. To date the platform is used to manage more than 2.5 million medical photos in a wide range of hospitals and private practices. The software is becoming recognized as the industry standard for mobile medical photography.

Are you ready to take charge of your medical photography this year? The first step is to schedule a short demo of the RxPhoto software to see how it can help you improve the level of care in your hospital or practice. Click the link below to schedule a demo:

Photo-Process

AppwoRx Issued Patent on Innovative Clinical Photography App for Physicians

patent

Physicians using the AppwwoRx platform now have access to unduplicatable tech that facilitates consistent, high-quality clinical photography on smartphones.

Boca Raton, Florida— November 11, 2015— Clinical photography is an essential part of patient care, marketing, and monitoring progress, but medical practitioners often struggle to take photos under consistent conditions. This makes it difficult to produce meaningful presentations and accurate before and after examples. However, AppwoRx has secured a patent for an innovative application that solves these issues, and enables physicians to take high-quality clinical images, using their own smartphones.

The patent AppwoRx was issued covers numerous aspects of clinical photography on mobile devices, though physicians are applauding the app’s ghosting feature. It allows a photographer to overlay a previous image onto the viewing screen, so that the new image is lined up perfectly, producing a photo that clearly displays a patient’s progress.

“This feature makes taking consistent photos much easier,” reports Steven Leon, a dermatologic physician assistant, who uses the app. “The two photos can then be compared side by side on the iPad for you and the patient to view together. A side by side photo showing a 50 percent improvement is much more powerful than telling patient they have a 50 percent decrease in lesions.”
Chris Cabell, Co-Founder and CTO of AppwoRx gives a nod to one of the application’s other features. All images can be stored on the cloud, in a HIPPA-compliant manner. “Cloud based photo storage means that staff can access photos from anywhere,” he adds. “Users can easily track and communicate patient treatment and progress, facilitate inter-office referrals, supplement insurance claims, illustrate services, and engage patients.” Because of the cloud-based storage capabilities, doctors can easily compile reports for patients, compare images, or share the data with approved medical professionals who are assisting with the patient’s care.

Using this fully-loaded suite of newly-patented clinical photography tools, physicians can produce better images, and streamline numerous activities. It’s one of the few products available that delivers better patient care, increases patient education, and helps offices save on administrative costs. Although the technology is new, more than 700 physicians across the globe have already begun using AppwoRx, and it’s slated to be one of the biggest advancements the medical industry has seen in years.

About AppwoRx
AppwoRx is proud to be on the forefront of medical technology, and is actively revolutionizing how clinical photography is managed all over the world. The company was founded by technologist Chris Cabell and Dr. Ariel Soffer, and received its first patent in 2015 click to investigate. With an eye to the future, AppwoRx is raising the standards for patient care, while providing physicians with the tools they need to run efficient and successful practices.

How Mobile Device Cameras are Revolutionizing Clinical Photography

Clinical photography

Struggling to capture perfect before and afters with your iPhone? Turn your mobile device into a HIPAA compliant medical photography system with RxPhoto. Check it out here.

Clinical photography is an essential tool for many physicians. Certain areas of medicine rely heavily on these images to explain procedures to patients, clearly demonstrate the progress a patient has made, and showcase the doctor’s skills with before and after images. They have further administrative uses, like handling insurance claims, facilitating collaboration between doctors, and assisting with referrals. Lately, practices have been ditching their high-end photography systems in favor of their personal smartphones. Is there really a benefit to switching over, or are these physicians sacrificing quality for ease-of-use?

Cell Phone Cameras Have Come a Long Way

One of the biggest concerns physicians have when they consider using a cell phone camera for digital clinical photography is the quality of photos. It’s a fair concern, since the cameras integrated in cell phones have traditionally produced poor-quality, grainy images. Lisa Bettany delved into this in an article for tap tap tap, a company that produces photography apps for iPhones. While there’s absolutely no comparison between high-end digital cameras and the cameras on flip-phones of yore, today’s iPhones have seen significant improvements. Bettany examined the 12-megapixel iPhone 6s iSight camera, and noted that it boasts 50% more megapixels than the previous four generations of iPhones, as well as a whole host of new features designed to produce better images.

As a professional photographer, Bettany likes to compare the progress of iPhone cameras on an annual basis. The differences in clarity, even between generations of iPhones, should really be seen to be fully appreciated. The latest iPhone delivers crisp, clear photos, without the grain and fuzziness that plagued earlier generations.

Comparing Smartphone Cameras to DSLR Cameras: Which is Better?

Many physicians have invested in expensive systems specifically designed for clinical photography. They often start at around $7,000, and require additional upgrades or tools, and possibly a special photography room as well. By the time the dust settles, the physician can easily spend $10,000 or more before a single photograph is taken. Even a high-quality digital single-lens reflex (sometimes shortened to DSLR or digital SLR) camera starts around $5,000. It would seem that a meager smartphone, costing just a few-hundred-dollars can’t compete with these modern marvels of technology. However, nowadays even professional photographers see little value in shelling out the big bucks for high-end cameras.

When pro photographer Jim Richardson headed off to the Scottish Highlands with an iPhone 5s, on behalf of National Geographic, he wasn’t exactly excited. Initially, he missed his beloved Nikon camera, though as the trip wore on, he found himself appreciating the iPhone. “What surprised me most was that the pictures did not look like compromises. They didn’t look like I was having to settle for second best because it was a mobile phone. They just looked good,” he reported in the world-renowned magazine. By the end of the trip, and after taking some 4,000 photos, he was a true iPhone camera fanatic. “I’ve discovered that the iPhone 5S is a very capable camera,” he said. “The color and exposures are amazingly good, the HDR exposure feature does a stunningly good job in touch situations, the panorama feature is nothing short of amazing.”

Photographer Lee Hutchinson compared the iPhone 6Plus against $8,000 worth of high-end equipment. He took dozens of comparison photos for ars technia, and noted that the most important thing was how the photos actually look to the human eye. His final conclusion was “a smartphone that costs a few hundred dollars is mostly as good as a DSLR that costs eight-to-ten times as much.” The key, however, is that a professional photographer will always take better photos, whereas a less-experienced photographer may actually perform better with a smartphone camera. In a medical office, this is incredibly relevant, as assistants, rather than professional photographers, are the ones who are often responsible for capturing images. In other words, medical assistants and office personnel may actually take better photos using their phones.

It’s Obvious That Smartphone Cameras are Beneficial, But What About HIPAA Compliance?

In an article for the American Bar Association, Catherine Barrett warns that doctors may be violating HIPAA by using mobile devices in their practices. She notes that 83% of physicians own at least one mobile device, and that 25% of all physicians qualify for “super-user” status, by utilizing both a smartphone and a tablet. Moreover, 81% of those in practice use their own devices to access things like electronic patient records. While there are HIPAA-compliant methods of using personal devices to access electronic medical records (EMRs), many doctors are not using them. This leaves the data open to theft over networks, or it may be easily stolen on devices. In fact, 66% of data breaches within the healthcare sector have been traced back to a single stolen mobile device.

In Order to Be HIPAA-Compliant, Several Protections Must Be in Place

Authentication: Data should be password-protected, at the very least.

Encryption: Information on the device should not be able to be read without being decrypted, whether during storage or transfer.

Physical: Physicians are encouraged to keep logs of who has access to devices with data, keep devices locked in a cabinet when not in use, to use RFID chips to track lost or stolen devices, and to utilize software that can lock devices or destroy data in the event a device is lost.

Unfortunately, medical professionals don’t always follow these, and other necessary requirements, to become HIPAA-complaint. With so many doctors seeing the benefit of mobile devices, they’re using their own phones to capture patient data, and are even using them to take clinical photos. They are then kept on the device for later reference, or emailed and messaged to the office staff for integration into the patient file. Not only is this not HIPAA-compliant, it’s a legal issue waiting to happen.

New software companies solve the challenges of HIPAA compliancy in the digital age.

Take, for example, Modernizing Medicine, a company that specializes in EMRs. They’re one of many who offer a suite of tools that store data in the cloud, to keep medical offices HIPAA-compliant. In addition to hosting medical records, their service allows physicians to snap clinical photos with their devices, and then transfer the encrypted file to the cloud.

The Most-Advanced Solution for Mobile Clinical Photography is the RxPhoto Application from AppwoRx.While a handful of companies enable physicians to remain HIPAA-compliant with their electronic medical records, and some even host photos, the RxPhoto application from AppwoRx is by far the best choice for physicians whose lifeblood rests on having consistent high-quality images.

Many offices struggle with consistency between images, but RxPhoto makes uniformity simple. The application holds a patent, which protects many aspects of mobile clinical photography. The most innovative of which is a unique ghosting feature that allows a photographer to overlay a previous image on the screen, so that the new image is in exact alignment. This makes consistency between images a breeze, regardless of who takes each photo, which room the image is captured in, or what device is used. Before and after images can be perfectly-aligned, to make the improvements easy to see. Initial photos can be taken with the assistance of on-screen illustrations, making galleries of patient photos appear uniform, adding to the professional appearance. Most of all, it solves one of the biggest problems of photography in general. Anyone can take flawless, high-quality, consistent clinical photos, regardless of whether they’re a staff member with minimal photography training, or a physician, who may have had some time pass since his clinical photography training.

AppwoRx is also HIPAA-compliant. The developers at AppwoRx took time to ensure that doctors who use the application are compliant with HIPAA guidelines. The images are stored in the cloud, which means there’s no concern over lost or stolen data. Any employee can use his personal smartphone, and nothing is ever stored on it. Moreover, the level of encryption is twice the level that HIPAA calls for, so there’s absolutely no concern over security breaches. The added benefit of using cloud-based technology is that physicians can access the images anywhere. If a doctor wants to check on a patient’s progress before entering the exam room, he can do so with just a few taps. If he gets curious about a particular case while at home and wants to compare before and after photos, he can do so, while being totally HIPAA-compliant.

Images are catalogued, for easy retrieval. Even offices that utilize digital means to store photos have difficulty cataloguing them. In some cases, a master computer simply has heaps of random images of all patients, which doctors must then sort through to find what they need. In more organized platforms, the photos are tucked away in patient charts, but it still takes time to navigate to the right one. AppwoRx neatly catalogues all photos, so that clinicians can search by date, area of the body, or using other guidelines, saving loads of time.
In addition to taking excellent clinical photos, AppwoRx offers doctors a suite of robust features. The application has many unique tools, designed to improve patient care and efficiency.
Marketing and Education

Doctors can engage patients, by showing them recommended treatments and clear photos of progress.

Patients can view information about how procedures work. Reports can be printed out. These may include branded treatment recommendations, post-op instructions, insurance narratives, and more- all including the clinical photos taken with the app.

Access to a custom patient education gateway may be created, so patients can view all the information online from the comfort of their homes.
AppwoRx has been called an “elegant solution” for the technical difficulties associated with clinical photography. Steven Leon MS, PA-C uses the application in his dermatology practice, and has noted the significant advantages of using it. When speaking of the results that the ghosting feature provides, he says, “The two photos can then be compared side by side on the iPad for you and the patient to view together.” This naturally leads to better patient compliance through education. Leon adds, “A side by side photo showing a 50 percent improvement is much more powerful than telling patient they have a 50 percent decrease in lesions.” In a nutshell, that’s what AppwoRx does. It simplifies taking quality clinical photos, which directly transfers into compelling material that has numerous uses within a practice.

Mobile device cameras are incredibly powerful today, and enable even a novice photographer to take better photos than he could with a high-end system or expensive DSLR camera. This, in and of itself, is a boon for clinical photography. However, as more physicians turn to them, they also face the risk of becoming non-compliant with HIPAA guidelines. The latest technology developments solve the HIPAA problem, by encrypting data and hosting it on the cloud. When paired with a suite of tools like AppwoRx offers, the benefits are even greater. Photos are more consistent, and offices can provide better patient care. Moreover, beneficial services such as this, that streamline and improve office procedures, save time, which cuts down on administrative costs. The ability to use the images and create reports as marketing materials can also drastically increase practice revenue. It’s impossible to pin mobile device cameras down to a single benefit when it comes to clinical photography, which is why their integration can be considered nothing short of revolutionary.

4 Important Reasons Plastic Surgeons Take Photos

People seem obsessed with taking photos these days. Recent news articles have highlighted the fact that, for the first year ever, selfies took the lives of more people than sharks did. It seems like no matter where you go, somebody wants a photo – even at the doctor’s office. For some, it feels like an intrusive process. After all, if they’re visiting the doctor to have something visual corrected, having that flaw or defect highlighted by photography can stir emotions. They want the defect corrected, not put on display. In a plastic surgeon’s office, a desire for modesty can also be of concern. While these are understandable worries, clinical photography serves several very important purposes, and sometimes understanding the logic behind them can help set your mind at ease.

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  1. It documents your starting point, so you can compare later.

Sometimes it can be hard to gauge results without having before and after photos. When you have the two images to compare side by side, the changes are much more apparent. If your treatment involves a sequence of procedures, assessing the gradual changes can help your doctor determine a more accurate timeline as well.

  1. It enables your doctor to educate you about the procedure and anticipated results better.

No two people are alike, so models and sketches don’t always accurately represent your personal anatomy. Photos serve as a valuable aid when your doctor is explaining how a procedure will work and what changes you can expect to see.

  1. When patients allow the doctor to share them, they can help educate others and showcase the doctor’s skill.

It’s incredibly likely that you examined photos of your doctor’s actual patients before you began treatment. While review websites and personal recommendations may help guide an individual’s decision to choose a doctor, nothing demonstrates his capabilities quite like photographs do.

Generally speaking, medical professionals don’t share any of your information, including photos, with the public, without your written permission. However, if you’re still worried about privacy, and don’t want images of you shared, let your doctor know.

  1. Insurance companies tend to pay for procedures more easily when they can see visual evidence of why treatment was needed.

Many insurance companies will only cover treatment if it’s of medical necessity, rather than for aesthetic reasons. Other companies will determine coverage levels based on their own assessment of a condition. In either case, photographs provide them with the visual evidence they require in order to be able to process your claim.

There are lots of reasons why both you and your doctor benefit from clinical photography, but the biggest reason is that they can help you receive better care overall. In fact, most plastic surgeons are actually required to learn how to take quality clinical photographs as part of their studies, simply because it enables them to assess their own work to a greater degree. If you have questions or concerns over having your photograph taken, let your doctor know. He’s probably heard similar concerns before, and he’ll be able to set your mind at ease.

Using an iPad Tripod to Improve Image Stability

Tripod

Camera stability is essential to taking good medical photos.  In our “Guide to Better Clinical Photography” we lists a number of tips and tricks for improving camera stability when capturing patient photos.  Recently, one of our users shared this photo with us and we wanted to pass it along.  As you can see, the physician has placed his iPad on a small tripod inside his exam room.  Our first question was obvious “How did you get the iPod on to the Tripod”?

As it turns out, Amazon offers an inexpensive attachment for an iPad which will allow you to affix the device directly to any Tripod.  In this case, the physician was using a Jellyfish Mini Tablet Tripod Mount which can be purchased for $17.95:  http://amzn.to/1lVmATg

If you are using a full sized iPad, iStabilizer offers a similar product for $19.95:  http://amzn.to/1uPNUYu

 

 

 

The Importance of Clinical Photography in Aesthetic Medicine

screenshotsThe field of Aesthetic Medicine has grown tremendously over the past twenty years. This is due in part to baby boomers, who are now growing older but still desire to look young and fresh find here. Many of them have the finances to take advantage of anti-aging creams, cosmetics and surgical procedures that can turn back time for them.

As Aesthetic Medicine has grown, doctors, researchers and others have spent billions developing more effective treatments and procedures that are minimally invasive and yet still offer excellent results.  These treatments include Dermal Fillers, Chemical Peels, Microdermabrasion, Laser & IPL, Venous Treatment, Body Contouring, and Cellulite Treatments.

 

The Before & After Photos

One of the more important tools in the arsenal of Aesthetic Medicine is clinical photography.  Anyone spending money and time on some type of treatment to improve their physical appearance will want to see great before and after photos.  This is the most effective way to show a patient that the treatment has definitely worked and their appearance has dramatically changed.

These before and after photos also become the physician’s best advertising material. People considering some type of aesthetic treatment peruse the websites and carefully examine those before and after photos.  Patients may place even more confidence in these clinical photos than the physician’s medical training.

This assigns an additional level of importance on producing the very best quality photos possible. Those doctors who understand this and invest in excellent clinical photography equipment often reap the benefits through stronger word of mouth advertising. As with just about all sales and marketing, word of mouth remains the most effective form of publicity.

 

Protect & Enhance Your Reputation

 

You can spend thousands of dollars on an advertising campaign and have it ruined by just a few careless comments left online about your practice. Countless doctors have learned this lesson the hard way. Happy patients mean referrals and patients who can visually see the difference in the way they look after the procedure are sure to share their excitement with others.

 

Social Media Has Changed Everything!

 

This takes on a whole new measure of significance when you consider how social media has changed our lives in the last few years. Nowadays, you can instantly see photographs on Facebook of your friends on vacation at Disneyworld. People share just about everything now on sites like Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. They’ll photograph and post the steak they just grilled, their kid’s volley ball game, their wife’s new car, and the roses that just bloomed outside their front door.

 

People Expect Better Photographs from Doctors

 

Consumers not only expect detailed before and after photographs but they insist on quality as well.  Most smartphones take pretty decent pictures. How much more outstanding should a physician’s photos be? Simply put, patients expect this and doctors who provide it can count on staying busier than those who don’t.

 

The Importance of Clinical Photography

 

Why spend thousands of dollars on a new and more advanced laser while still using old, worn-out photo equipment that isn’t able to capture the excellent results it gives? These are just a few of the things that today’s physicians are considering as they move forward with their service offerings.

 

Dramatically improving a patient’s physical appearance is one thing, but being able to photograph that change is what will keep patients coming back. The field of Aesthetic Medicine can be expected to continue to grow and develop; it’s not just a new fad that will fade away in a few years.

 

The Future Looks Good for Aesthetic Medicine

 

People want to enjoy good health, but they also want to be physically attractive and have proven that they will do whatever possible to minimize the effects of normal aging.  For physicians in the field of Aesthetic Medicine, this means staying up-to-date on the latest discoveries and improvements, including professional clinical photography equipment.

 

Clinical Photography in Dermatology, Aesthetics and Plastic Surgery

 

Whoever said that a picture is worth a thousand words must have been a dermatologist. Patients truly look at and even study those photos on your website of before and after the procedure. They use these photos to evaluate your skills as a dermatologist or a plastic surgeon. If you want to truly be successful in this business, then your photos must be top-notch. You can scrimp and cut corners in some areas, but the clinical photographs should be of highest quality.

Staying Competitive

It’s no small task to stay competitive these days in the world of medicine. Regardless of what kind of practice you have, there may be hundreds or even thousands of similar practices in your city. The before and after pictures provide the necessary data for potential patients to “visualize” their procedure and expected results.

Once a patient has decide to take the plunge and get the work done that they’ve been considering, then these clinical photos will also serve as a reminder or where they were prior to the procedure and what kind of changes were made. Though most practices do use them for surgical procedures, often they are not utilized for non-surgical procedures. The reasons are varied:

• It’s too expensive.
• Patients don’t really need them anyway.
• It’s time consuming.

The truth is that a practice that does take before and after photos of any procedure is often viewed by patients as more exclusive or high-end. And who doesn’t want to go to the best dermatologist or plastic surgeon in town?

Choosing Your Equipment

Most doctors like to boast about having the most advanced machines and medical devices but what about your photo equipment? There are a few options when considering how to best capture and catalog your photos. A traditional digital camera is sufficient for taking medical photos, but the process of managing the clinical photos after they have been captured is often cumbersome. Users must manually upload the photos to a computer, label them, and then integrate them directly into the EMR.

Companies like Canfield and Fotofinder provide more streamlined photo capture and management. Many physicians find that these solutions are very bulky and expensive and more than what they actually need.

AppwoRx is a newer clinical photography solution that utilizes mobile and cloud technology to streamline the process of capturing and cataloging photos. Because AppwoRx is a software platform and no equipment purchase is necessary, the cost is typically more palatable.

Training

Clinical photography training is essential for any practice who intends to use medical photos for marketing, collaboration or insurance reimbursement. There are procedures for clinical photography that must be adhered to when capturing medical photos. Lighting, positioning, shadow and background can all have dramatic effects on the quality of a patient photo. To learn more about how to improve the quality of your medical photography, you can review this free whitepaper: http://www.myappworx.com/whitepaper

ClinicalPhtographyBefore&after

Excellent before and after pictures can take your practice to a whole new level and draw in a more affluent crowd. Make an investment in better equipment and better trained employees to maximize the potential of photographs.

The Importance of Nonstandardized Medical Photography

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Medical imaging is of paramount importance in the field of plastic surgery. Many years ago, it started out as a helpful tool, but today it is an essential part of any practice. A few other medical fields also utilize photography these days and it can be a valuable aid to any physician’s practice. As more and more doctors begin to incorporate photography into their day-to-day practice, many questions arise.

Getting Consistent Quality

One of the major concerns of plastic surgeons, dermatologists and others is consistent quality. In order to get uniformity, the conditions must be the same for before and after pictures or a series of photos.

For facial plastic surgery, it’s important that all conditions be exactly the same for pre-op and post-op photos. The patient should be wearing dark clothing, similar cosmetics, and the background and lighting must be matched. All camera specs must be the same as well: the lens, film, focal setting, and F-stop.

Consistent Positioning

Though all these factors may seem like common sense to some, peer-reviewed articles on this topic show that many unintentional inconsistencies were found. Patient positioning was one major factor that seemed most difficult to replicate at each photo shoot. Even a small degree of head retrusion or neck flexion made a significant impact on the photodocumentation.

For lateral facial photographs, many photos were observed that had not been taken in the true lateral position. Even a slight over-rotation of the head caused skewed results. Since digital photography has become so inexpensive, one method recommended for coping with these various issues, is simply to take several photos in each position. Of course, every effort should be made to replicate the exact lighting and conditions for pre-op and post-op photos.


Conclusion

With the field of medical imaging growing and the need for reliable medical photography in advertising, teaching and diagnosis, achieving standardized quality is essential. Whether mistakes are made through carelessness, lack of knowledge or through equipment failures, poorly taken photographs can diminish the value of using photographs altogether. They can also provide misleading or incorrect information.

To address these numerous issues, many physicians are training one or two employees that handle only the photography itself. Another helpful solution is the use of better or easier to operate equipment. Several companies do provide medical imaging equipment but it can be very expensive, cumbersome and difficult for employees to operate. The future of medical imaging will most likely steer toward easy-to-use programs that can be utilized with iPhones and iPads, making it much more versatile and convenient for the busy medical professional.