Authors: (Tejaswi Mudigonda, Post-Baccalaureate Research Fellow, Surgery Branch, National Institutes of Health)
Abstract: Digital photography has become an integral part of dermatology, both in clinical practice and research. The required equipment comprise of a digital camera, a media card reader, a computer, and a color printer. The digital camera itself consists of a conventional camera body and a lens with a charge coupled device (CCD). Digital cameras with resolutions of at least 1024 x 768 pixels should provide the image quality recommended in clinical practice. With regard to image control, digital cameras of the single lens reflect (SLR) model, though costlier, is recommended over the point-andshoot model because of its ability to focus and adjust exposure manually when needed. Given this context, digital photography is important to the dermatology field in primarily three ways: education, teledermatology, and clinical practice. In education, digital photographs have been increasingly used to teach medical students the morphology of skin lesions. In teledermatology, the use of digital imaging systems in medically underserved areas can be extremely helpful in improving patient outcomes and minimizing costs in managed care. For the purposes of emergency medical records (EMR), digital photography, in combination with telecommunications devices such as handheld computers, allows for rapid storage and retrieval of clinical records.