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J Health Commun. 2012;17 Suppl 1:37-42; quiz 42-3. doi: 10.1080/10810730.2011.649161.

The use of mobile phones for acute wound care: attitudes and opinions of emergency department patients.

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  • 1Department of Emergency Medicine, George Washington University Medical Faculty Associates, Washington, District of Columbia 20037, USA.


There are a significant number of emergency department (ED) visits for lacerations each year. When individuals experience skin, soft tissue, or laceration symptoms, the decision to go to the ED is not always easy on the basis of the level of severity. For such cases, it may be feasible to use a mobile phone camera to submit images of their wound to a remote medical provider who can review and help guide their care choice decisions. The authors aimed to assess patient attitudes toward the use of mobile phone technology for laceration management. Patients presenting to an urban ED for initial care and follow-up visits for lacerations were prospectively enrolled. A total of 194 patients were enrolled over 8 months. Enrolled patients answered a series of questions about their injury and a survey on attitudes about the acceptability of making management decisions using mobile phone images only. A majority of those surveyed agreed that it was acceptable to send a mobile phone picture to a physician for a recommendation and diagnosis. Patients also reported few concerns regarding privacy and security and believe that this technology could be cost effective and convenient. In this study, the majority of patients had favorable opinions of using mobile phones for laceration care. Mobile phone camera images (a) may provide a useful modality for assessment of some acute wound care needs and (b) may decrease ED visits for a high-volume complaint such as acute wounds.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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