Frequently Asked Question: FAQ:

How do I securely store clinical photos in Google Drive?

Other FAQs

Google drive

Use Google Drive as a "Data Warehouse". You can use Google Drive to keep an archive of clinical photos without violating privacy regulations. This is particularly useful for areas of medicine where it is appropriate to document visual changes over time, and there are no provisions for storing photos in the patients record. Google Drive, in conjunction with PicSafe, can be used to help you comply with HIPAA and HITECH regulations (see this HIPAA Compliance with G Suite and Cloud Identity article). 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.


  1. Tap on the Settings button (on the primary form).
  2. Tap the Google Drive row under the Storage Integrations heading.
  3. Tap on the Link Google Drive Account button, and you'll be guided through the process to login to Google Drive.


  1. Take a photo in PicSafe.
  2. (Optional) Enter or scan the Patient ID.
  3. Select Google Drive in the send screen.


  • A Google account. A "free" Google account gives you 15GB of storage. As a rule of thumb, allow 5MB per photo. So with a free account that's 3,000 photos. There are paid Google Drive plans that will give you more space if needed.
  • PicSafe PRO (or be part of a PicSafe Enterprise account).


  • "Reports" you upload to Google Drive can be found in an automatically generated "PicSafe" directory.
  • A report contains photos (with metadata removed), and a PDF and XML file with the relevant details.
  • Within your Google Drive account, you can use the search to find any of the information included in the "report" (e.g. patients name).
  • The app uploads all reports over HTTPS. We do not encrypt reports using the key server when submitting to Google Drive as we assume that Google Drive stores all reports securely.
  • Google states that data uploaded to Google Drive does not get stored in any one particular country. However, they claim their approach is actually more secure than keeping everything in a local data centre. See the "How do we securely store clinical photos?" FAQ for a discussion on security and data sovereignty issues related to Google Drive.
  • While we believe PicSafe provides a system to allow doctors and comply with various privacy and medical record requirements, you should consult your lawyer or legal department. Note, too often we have seen excessive demands placed on processes to the point that they become impractical. Impractical requirements tend to get ignored, and doctors revert to more comfortable but insecure practices (using the default camera app or the camera within consumer-grade messaging apps). For everyone's sake, we need to avoid this!

What You Get

  • Peace-of-mind. You are putting a system in place that encourages doctors to deliver to the standard of care, thereby mitigating the risk of legal action in a situation where a photo might have changed an adverse outcome.
  • Privacy Regulation Compliance. You're providing a way for staff to securely capture and transmit clinical photos while complying with privacy regulations and thereby mitigating your risk of massive fines.
  • Medical Record Regulation Compliance. By providing the ability to store clinical photos taken on your smartphone, you can comply with medical record regulations. Without this, many images are taken, but they don't make their way into the medical record.
  • Accelerated access to specialist care. Without the worry of breaching privacy regulations, doctors will be more inclined to take clinical photos.
  • Enhanced education for trainees. As above, doctors will be more inclined to take clinical photos and share them with those training.
  • More efficient triaging of patients. Here massive savings can be achieved. Please see the use case for just some examples.