Physicians are increasingly using smartphones to take clinical photographs. This study evaluates a smartphone application for clinical photography that prioritizes and facilitates patient security. Ethics approval was obtained to trial a smartphone clinical photography application, PicSafe Medi. Calgary plastic surgeons and residents used the application to obtain informed consent and photograph patients. Surveys gauging the application's usability, consent process, and photograph storage/sharing were then sent to surgeons and patients. Over a 6-month trial period, 15 plastic surgeons and residents used the application to photograph 86 patients. Over half of the patients (57%) completed the survey. The majority of patients (96%) were satisfied with the application's consent process, and all felt their photographs were secure. The majority (93%) of surgeons/residents completed the survey. The application was felt to overcome issues with current photography practices: inadequate consent and storage of photographs (100%), risk to patient confidentiality (92%), and unsecure photograph sharing (93%). Barriers to regular use of the application included need for cellphone service/Internet (54%), sanitary concerns due to the need for patients to sign directly on the phone (46%), inability to obtain proactive/retroactive consent (85%), and difficulty viewing photographs (80%). The majority of surgeons (85%) believe a smartphone application would be suitable for clinical patient photography, but due to its limitations, only 23% would use the trialed application. A smartphone clinical photography application addresses the patient confidentiality risks of current photography methods; however, limitations of the trialed application prevent its broad implementation.

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