Journal articlesService design: a database approach to the management of digital images of wounds in the hospital setting

Service design: a database approach to the management of digital images of wounds in the hospital setting

07/11/17 | Assessment and diagnosis, Infection | Melissa Rochon, Julie Sanders, Rose Gallagher

Comprehensive wound assessments demonstrate better patient outcomes. Digital photography is a useful adjunct, aiding assessment and reducing the risk of over-treatment. Aim: This study compared the quality of digital photographs uploaded directly to the electronic patient record (EPR) with those uploaded via a database by non-specialist nurses as part of the development of a standard operating procedure in two cardiothoracic centres. Methods: Two specialist surveillance nurses retrospectively audited 1,837 wound photographs: 1,713 uploaded to the EPR via a database and 124 uploaded directly to the EPR. Image quality was determined by: 1) function, including clarity and documentation of appropriate clinical details alongside the image; and 2) format, including size, rotation and focus. Both function and format needed to be satisfactory to meet quality criteria. Results: Only 52% (65/124) of photos uploaded directly to the EPR were of sufficient quality versus 99% (1,702/1,713) of photos uploaded via a database. There was a significant difference in the quality of images managed using the two methods (p<0.0001). Conclusion: Findings suggest that, in practice, a database should be recommended to ensure quality control as it reduces the risk of error and facilitates reporting on wound types, care and resources.