Read Ceri and Sophie’s paper via THIS LINK
What first interested you in medical photography?
Ceri: Originally, I became interested in pursuing a Forensic Photography Career, during my final year of BA(Hons) Photojournalism. I embarked upon work experience with South Wales Police, which I thoroughly enjoyed, however, they informed me that I would need to go back to college and do the sciences separately at A Level, I had done art subjects, they suggested that I look into Medical Photography, and the rest as they say is history!
Sophie: I had always wanted to pursue a career within the healthcare setting. For me, to be able to help make a difference to a person’s life is very satisfying so when I discovered medical photography, it was a way for me to incorporate my hobby of photography in to a rewarding career.
Tell us a bit about your background and education.
Ceri: I finished my degree and was successful in gaining a trainee position at Salisbury District Hospital where I completed the Post Grad Cert. in Medical Photography via Staffordshire University. I went onto gain a qualified post at Guy’s and St Thomas’ for one year, when a post at The Royal Gwent Hospital, Newport came up, and it is where I have been ever since. I hold one of four senior roles there.
Sophie: I come from a photographic background, studying a BA Hons photography. After graduating I started working within a hospital setting. Knowing that I wanted to pursue a career in medical photography I knew it was important to have experience working within a healthcare setting to help give me the knowledge of patient care.
I have been a Medical Photographer for four years. I started as a Trainee Clinical Photographer at the Royal Gwent Hospital while completing my Post Graduate Certificate in Clinical Photography through Cardiff University. I was fortunate to secure a Band 5 post at the Royal Gwent Hospital.
As a Photographer, what does your job entail?
Ceri: As a Senior Medical Photographer my daily activities include supervising the Trainee and band 5 medical photographers, ensuring all clinical demands are covered and met to a high standard. I enjoy undertaking photography for our outlying clinics and at our base at The Royal Gwent Hospital where possible. I enjoy not knowing what is coming next, no two days are the same.
Sophie: As a Clinical Photographer, you never know what to expect in a day’s work. I am very fortunate that my role in the Medical Illustration department covers a variety of different specialties. As part of my role I undertake Teledermatology clinics both at the main department and outlying clinics. I have also recently expanded my role to include video work, which I really enjoy.
What tools or software do you use in your work?
Ceri & Sophie: Part of the Teledermatology project brief was to be able to store and retrieve patient photographs, an image database was needed. WABA Logic JMS (Job manangement system) and MiM (Medical image manager) were purchased and our database continues to grow on a daily basis. We also have a mixture of DermLite and Heine dermatoscopes which are used on Nikon D300 / D800 bodies to capture dermoscopy views. All images are edited through photoshop, however it is important to note minimal manipulation takes place (Levels and sharpening).
Can you briefly tell me about the project “Store and forward Teledermatology – the Newport way“?
Ceri & Sophie: Senior Dermatology consultant, Dr Caroline Mills, had a vision to change the way dermatology patients were diagnosed and treated, to reduce waiting times and speed up treatment times for those that needed it, as the waiting time back then for routine patients was nine months plus, which was not meeting Welsh Assembly guidelines of 26 weeks. Initially a satellite photography studio was set up in north gwent (Ebbw Vale) as this is the furthest north of the geographical area the Aneurin Bevan University Health Board (ABUHB) covers, and is often the hardest area to deliver care to the patient. A weekly clinic was successfully established where patients attended for photography following a GP referral, the images were uploaded to WABA, peer reviewed by the dermatology team, and then an advice letter produced and / or a follow up appointment for lesion removal. It was soon apparent that the new referral system was working very well, revealing that instantly 50% of patients were discharged following diagnosis from our images.
Following the success of the pilot programme, a further studio at Ystrad Mynach hospital was established and room availability was secured at Chepstow Community Hospital. We now run 7 sessions a week, at The Royal Gwent Hospital and the others mentioned. We have now secured another satellite studio at Nevill Hall, a general hospital in Abergavenny, which we hope to have running in the next 6 months. The collaboration with the dermatology department has embedded our department within the patient pathway, and allowed us to expand the department, securing an additional administration member and three additional clinical photographers.
Did you need to learn any new skills during the project?
Ceri: During my time at Guy’s and St Thomas’ I was fortunate enough to pick up skills in Dermoscopy, which is something that was in the pipeline when I got to Newport. I have been able to develop these skills further, understanding how to get the best out of the dermatoscope and variety of lesions we come across.
Sophie: When I started as a trainee at Newport, the telederm service was already established. I’ve learnt that different lesions require different approaches (for example different pressures and gels) to gain the optimum image to aid diagnosis for the consultant. I have also become more confident with patient management especially at standalone clinics at our satellite studios.
What was most rewarding about the project?
Ceri & Sophie: Throughout the last five years, we have learnt a great deal about lesions and the danger signs to look out for. We have expanded our dermoscopy knowledge and skills greatly. It is also very rewarding to see the service successfully diagnosing patients accordingly.
What are you working on right now?
Ceri & Sophie: Other departments have noted the success of the Telederm pilot and are exploring how it could work for them. Ophthalmology has started looking at lid lesions and Occuplatics. And there has been talk about the maxillofacial department, using photography as a triage service for intra oral lumps and bumps and white patches in the mouth etc. We have also been approached by various dermatology consultants and medical photography departments to ask about implementation and how we went about it.
Is there another project you would like the opportunity to undertake?
Ceri & Sophie: At the moment with the success of the Telederm pilot we are more than happy to develop the service we currently have on offer.