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Role of parent-initiated digital imaging in paediatric clinical practice
  1. Mahmoud Motawea1,
  2. Maria Digby1,
  3. Russell Banks2,
  4. Marilyn Whittle3,
  5. Govind V S Murthi1
  1. 1 Paediatric Surgical Unit, Sheffield Children's Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Sheffield, UK
  2. 2 Information Management and Technology, Sheffield Children's Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Sheffield, UK
  3. 3 Legal and Governance, Sheffield Children's Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Sheffield, UK
  1. Correspondence to Govind V S Murthi, Paediatric Surgical Unit, Sheffield Children's Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Sheffield S10 2TH, UK; govind.murthi{at}

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Parent-initiated digital photographs are being increasingly provided to clinicians and allied health professionals (AHPs) by parents as a complement to the history of their child’s clinical illness (figure 1). This can be in the form of a photo or video shown to the clinician or AHP in a face-to-face setting or remotely via email transfer or by screen sharing during a video consultation. Such digital images may also be contained within a referral letter. Such images can assist with the treatment of new referrals and follow-up of patients as well. On receipt of such images, the clinician is obliged to act on it as felt appropriate—as with conventional forms of clinical information—and arrange a response that could be an email response, remote consultation (phone/skype/video call) or a face-to-face meeting (emergency or elective). In our practice, we have noted that even if the information contained within such parent-initiated images may be incomplete or irrelevant to the clinical question being asked, to provide a timely response to an expectant parent is best practice.

Figure 1

Collage of pictures taken by parents that have helped with diagnosis. (A) ‘Lump’ that appeared following defecation and was associated with pain and bleeding—patient underwent ileocolonoscopy to remove a solitary large rectal polyp; (B) significant bleeding per rectum in a 7-month-old male infant—laparoscopy detected a Meckel’s diverticulum which was resected; (C) ingrowing toe-nail with recurrent inflammation and granulation—patient was listed for surgery via telephone clinic appointment on the basis of this photo; (D) left inguinal hernia …

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  • Contributors GVSM conceived the project. GVSM, MM and MD contributed to the main manuscript. RB and MW contributed to the sections on Information Technology and Legal aspects respectively. Consents were obtained by GVSM and MM.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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