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Dermatol Surg. 2014 Sep;40(9):1028-37. doi: 10.1097/01.DSS.0000452632.22081.79.

Patient perspectives on medical photography in dermatology.

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*Ronald O. Perelman Department of Dermatology, New York University, New York City, New York; †Department of Dermatology and Cutaneous Surgery, University of Miami; ‡Bellevue Hospital Center, New York City, New York; §Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences, University of Nevada, Reno, Nevada; ‖Pigmented Lesion Service.



Clinical photography enhances medical care, research, and teaching. Empirical data are needed to guide best practices regarding dermatologic photography.


To investigate patient opinion about clinical photography and identify demographic factors that influence these opinions.


Four hundred patients representing a broad range of ages, self-identified ethnic/racial groups, and socioeconomic levels were recruited from 4 dermatology settings in New York City. Patients were administered a survey about perceptions of photography, willingness to allow photographs to be used in a variety of settings, preferences for photographer and photographic equipment, and methods of consent.


Eighty-eight percent of patients agreed that photography enhanced their quality of care. Most patients would allow their photographs to be used for medical, teaching, and research purposes with significantly more acceptance when patients were not identifiable. Patients preferred photographs taken by a physician rather than a nurse or student, photographers of the same gender, clinic-owned cameras to personal cameras or cell phones, and written consent to verbal consent. There were significant racial/ethnicity and age-related variations in responses, with white and older patients being more permissive than other groups.


We use the results of this study to recommend best practices for photography in dermatology.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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