By Dr. Oliver Aalami, M.D.
Vascular & Endovascular Surgeon
As practicing physicians, we often find ourselves racing around the hospital or clinic putting out one fire after another—the schedule you begin with is never the one you end up completing. In the world of healthcare professionals, efficiency is priority. If our workflow is disrupted or prolonged by a menial task, the ramifications will be severe. The more clicks an electronic medical record system or order entry system requires, the more we’ll bicker. During the days of paper charts and orders, doctors had to sign their name 50 to 100 times a day, hence the illegible signature. Communication and collaboration have always been integral to the management of patients. We used to be tied to our land line phones and pagers. However, the proliferation of mobile phones has transformed the way healthcare providers communicate and collaborate.
Smartphones are equipped with texting platforms that now include rich media such as photos, movies and GIFs. These forms of communication have largely replaced phone calls in our private lives and, not surprisingly, are also the preferred way to communicate and collaborate in our work lives. Why is this? It turns out asynchronous communication and collaboration is great for healthcare providers because it is EFFICIENT! We can multi-task while quickly receiving and sending messages. These messages pack an even greater punch when you start adding photos and movies.
It turns out that the data that can be condensed in a photo are tremendous—a picture is truly “worth a thousand words.” And what has started to fascinate me even more over time is how quick the image/data acquisition AND interpretation is with photos. How long would it take me to write or read a detailed description of a physical finding to document or communicate? You just can’t compare the two. Moreover, photos leave very little room for interpretation, far less than written notes. For all these reasons, the practice of taking mobile photos/videos for medical documentation and communication has blown up over recent years. Over 90% of physicians in our internal study admitted to taking medical photos with their smartphones.
As beneficial as it may be to document and communicate with our smartphones, there are many problems with using our personal mobile devices. The photos are mixed with our personal photos, there’s no body part tagging or laterality information and the photos are impossible to find. When the photos are shared, they’re sitting on our mobile carriers’ servers. To top it off, administration is always breathing down our backs telling us not to do what is making our lives so much easier! This frustration gave me the conviction to build a mobile medical photography solution that’s not only HIPAA compliant but much, much better than the simple camera on my iPhone. I began my journey to develop a “medical grade” mobile photography platform and BodyMapSnap was born.
At the end of the day doctors have illegible signatures because they value brevity and efficiency. BodyMapSnap continues this tradition and was created to capture the efficiency in mobile collaboration and documentation. Not only do you get all the medical grade contextual information with each photo/video, all images are packaged and ready for integration into the medical record.