Technology is developing at an unprecedented rate and many of the advances offer huge potential for improvements within healthcare. Smartphones are now commonplace and they have penetrated the clinical setting in the same way that they have daily life. Improved hardware, lenses and sensors, and an increasing variety of mobile phone Apps, offer the opportunity to change the way patient care is delivered. However, there is a need to balance innovation with regulation.
There are benefits and risks to the use of mobile phones for clinical photography. Mobile phones are already in the hands of most clinical staff, they are easy to use and provide an instant result that can be shared very quickly and easily with colleagues.
The risks of using mobile phones in a clinical setting include poor security (both physical and digital), the ease with which images can be shared, and quality limitations. Clinical photography is a highly skilled profession and while good quality images have the power to enhance patient care, poor quality images may negatively impact on patient care by missed diagnosis or delayed treatment.