Patient photos form part of the patient's medical record. As with any document that forms part of the patient's medical record, you must store them and securely. In Australia, you must store photos for a minimum of 7 years (or if a minor, until they are 25). Placing clinical photos into a patient's medical record can be a rigmarole, but it is required if it is used to help treat the patient, just like a standard laboratory test.
PicSafe provides three main methods for storing clinical photos. Each is discussed below. Click one of the links here to skip to that section.
PicSafe makes it easy to integrate into third-party Electronic Medical Record (EMR), Electronic Health Record (EHR) and Practice Management (PM) systems. Please see specific instructions for your system by clicking on one of the buttons below. If your EMR/EHR/PM is not there, try the grey button at the bottom.
Please also note, that if you are technically minded, to create a custom integration between an EMR/EHR/PM (see the "Custom Integration" button at the bottom). Alternatively, you can create an integration using Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR). FHIR is the emerging standard for exchanging health information to and from electronic health records. Click the "FHIR" button at the bottom for more.
Each of the most popular cloud storage services, Box, Dropbox, Google Drive and OneDrive (by Microsoft) offer a HIPAA-compliant secure storage option, and while HIPAA is a US-based standard for protecting patient privacy, it is viewed by many around the world as the gold standard in patient privacy regulation. However, all are US companies and, hence, raises the issue of data sovereignty. If you store data outside of Australia, then it becomes subject to the laws of the country in which the data resides. Please see the What is data sovereignty and what does it have to do with medical/clinical photos? FAQ for more information.
If you have PicSafe PRO or your part of a PicSafe Enterprise License, you can link your Box, Dropbox, Google Drive or OneDrive account and upload clinical photos directly to Box, Dropbox, Google Drive or OneDrive. Doing so dramatically streamlines the workflow in a busy clinic setting where smartphone clinical photography provides critical input to supporting patient therapy and billing processes.
If you can't get your medical record system or clinic management software to integrate initially, PicSafe makes it much easier to get photos from your phone to the medical record than if you were to use the default camera app on your phone. Getting photos from your phone to your desktop (where it is often possible to import to medical record systems of clinic management software) is generally painful. You should not email photos to yourself as that is considered insecure. If you are using an iPhone and a Mac, you can AirDrop them, but Bluetooth connections are often flaky. Plugging your phone into your computer and transferring the files across is secure but is tedious.
One solution we have found that works quite well is by using PicSafe's ability to send to Box, Dropbox, Google Drive and OneDrive (PRO version only). Upload your photos to Box, Dropbox, Google Drive or OneDrive and have your computer automatically sync your files. You can use Box, Dropbox, Google Drive or OneDrive as a repository where you store the clinical photos, or you can import the photos into the medical record or clinic management software manually.
Please see the specific instructions for each service by clicking on one of the buttons below.
Anecdotally, many doctors simply take a photo on their phone, email it to themselves, and then upload it to the medical record system that they use. The problem with this is, email is sending patient data via email is insecure, and there are many security issues with using the default camera app on your phone.
PicSafe has been designed to encrypt photos on your phone, before sending them. This means they can be emailed "normally" while remaining secure. If you send a "report" to yourself, you can go to my.picsafe.com and drag and drop the encrypted .picsafe file to decrypt it and view the contents. This is all done in the browser, and no patient data travels over the internet unencrypted. From here, you can simply get the photo you want to include to the medical record system and upload it like any file sitting on your system. For details click on the "email" button opposite.
From within the app, PicSafe can package the photos along with the relevant patient data into a file that is encrypted. This encrypted file can then be uploaded to My PicSafe and accessed by logging in to my.picsafe.com. This method makes it super easy to get photos off your phone and on to your computer. From My PicSafe, you can then save file(s) and store as you please. For details click on the "My PicSafe" button opposite.