Frequently Asked Question: FAQ:

How do I get photos into the medical record?

Other FAQs

If your practice, clinic, or hospital is using a third-party medical record system or clinic management software, to fully automate the process, you may have to lobby the vendor and/or your IT department to provide access. Understandably, access is locked down by default.

It take two to tango, just as it takes two to integrate into third party software. PicSafe will work with software vendors and/or your IT department to help integrate.

Partial Automation

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 Air Drop 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 and Dropbox (PRO version only). Upload your photos to Box or Dropbox and have your computer automatically sync your files. You can use Box or Dropbox as a repository where you store the clinical photos, or you can import the photos into the medical record or clinic management software manually.

Box and Dropbox are considered the most popular cloud storage services available. Both Box and Dropbox 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. Both Box and Dropbox, however, are US companies and, hence, raises the issue of data sovereignty for those outside the US.

Box & Data Sovereignty

In November 2106 Box, fortunately, announced "Box Zones in Australia” which enables Australian customers to store their data locally. Box says that by storing customer data in-country, it “can help address Australian Privacy Principles for organisations with data residency concerns and help companies meet the Australian Signals Directorate's strong recommendation that cloud providers handling sensitive data be located in Australia”.

Unfortunately, you must have a Box Enterprise account to use Box Zones. The Box website asks that you contact them to get a quote. Expect to pay around $35 per month for this service. There are Box Zones set up for other countries too.

Dropbox & Data Sovereignty

According to Dropbox's VP of Enterprise Strategy, Ross Piper, “Dropbox stores its Australian customer files in Amazon Web Service's Sydney data centre”. Technically speaking, then, it sounds like you can use Dropbox. However, they state that they hold related metadata in the US, thereby raising the accessibility spectre once again. The fact that this issue is conspicuously not addressed on its website raises some doubt about using Dropbox here in Australia.

The “Dropbox Basic” free plan, may be all you need. That gives you 2GB of storage which should be enough for roughly 4,000 photos. If you require more storage space, you can upgrade to various paid plans starting at AU$11.60 a month.

Full Automation

Integration with a medical record system is obviously more relevant for those that operate the IT department of an institution (hospital, clinic, etc.). If you want to integrate PicSafe reports into a patients medical record, PicSafe provides a simple API to allow you to do so.

Ultimately, you will need to set up a private "Endpoint", and we also recommend you set up a private "Key Server". PicSafe provides a turnkey Docker image for hosting a private Key Server. PicSafe also provides a sample Endpoint application. You will need to write middleware to take reports uploaded to the endpoint and move them into your medical record system (PicSafe does not perform this integration).

For more details, please see How do I set up a private Endpoint?. For even more detail on how endpoints work and how to integrate PicSafe into medical record systems, please see the Integrations Section of this website.