Can you explain a bit more about your service, what it usually involves and where you’re based?
We take photographic and video recordings of clinical conditions presented by patients. The recordings are mainly used for diagnosis, or for monitoring conditions during the different stages of treatment. We provide photographic recordings for medical records, teaching, publication, patient information, research, personal injury claims and for adult and paediatric safeguarding. Our service is also used for creating and printing promotional materials and taking staff portraits.
The CMC studio is based in Sussex House in Brighton where we photograph outpatients, including Dermatology, Orthodontics, Maxillofacial, ENT, Chest wall deformity and Breast Cancer Trials. We cover all sites in the Trust and work in our hospitals e.g. with the Tissue Viability Team on the wards to capture images of patients’ wounds to monitor their progress and with the ophthalmologists in the Sussex Eye Hospital. Our specialist eye photography uses equipment and techniques which include colour and red-free retinal photography, wide-angle retina images, Fundus Fluorescein Angiography and Indocyanine Green Angiography (methods to examine blood flow in the eye).
How has your work changed during COVID?
Once lockdown was announced the clinical photography department cancelled all outpatients’ appointments. We were asked to only attend urgent referrals at the Sussex Eye Hospital and our ward referrals dramatically decreased. We are only photographing COVID-19 positive patients if urgent or for safeguarding reasons.
What has been most challenging?
The most challenging aspects have been looking through the camera viewfinder while wearing a PPE visor. Wearing a surgical mask also creates a communication barrier, particularly with patients who have hearing impairments.
What achievements/innovations during this time are you proud of?
During this time we are pleased that we have risen to the challenge and been able adapt our services to cope with the constant changes of Covid-19. Two things we are particularly proud of include:
- Creating ‘Hello my name is…’ I.D badges to be worn on PPE on the wards. This is so that patients can see a friendly face.
- We have now made viewing patient images more accessible for doctors, nurses and HCAs on the wards, images can be viewed on a computer or iPad.