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Beyond the obvious benefits, the practice of remote and in-clinic photography is altering treatment capabilities.
Medical photography and dermatology go hand-in-hand as a tool and focus. And of late, its involvement has only gotten greater.
In an interview with HCPLive during the Society for Pediatric Dermatology (SPD) Pre-AAD Annual Meeting in New Orleans this week, Caitlin Treuting, medical photographer with Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, discussed the various benefits provided by bolstered use of medical photography in dermatology.
“Not only does it allow the provider to see the changes over time, but I think it also changes the dynamic between the provider and the patient…the patient trusts you more with their treatment and will be more likely to follow their treatment plan when they see it,” Treuting said.
Not only may it help clinicians monitor chronic disease progression—it can help identify acute exacerbations or flares in a more timely fashion than the previous standard.
“It can help with acute (disease) because the parents are only seeing it 1 or 2 days, or it could be a while until you get into these clinics,” Treuting said. “By taking the photos, it helps clinicians define the disease the kid may not be presenting at that time.”
Treuting also discussed the evolution of medical photography with telemedicine’s increase during the COVID-19 pandemic, with HIPAA-compliant platforms allowing patients and parents to report disease status.
HIPAA-compliant platforms that allow patients and their parents to report skin disease status
“From what I’ve read, most people have more accessibility to a cell phone than drinkable water,” Treuting said. “To get telemedicine out there, it’s going to make everything a lot more accessible. I really hope out in the future that it will eventually get to the point where it gets easier for hospitals and different systems to access these photos and that way, if you’re referring them, it’s going to be more of a cohesion.”
On the subject of health inequity, Treuting stressed the need for better access to cameras—and encouragement from clinicians—to bolster capability to treat patients of color.
“I think there is no such thing as overbeating that drum,” Treuting said. “There is still a discrepancies between people of color versus not…there’s not enough photos out there documenting how things present on their skin tone versus another skin tone.”