Digital Photography and Wireless Technology

Wireless technology has pretty much become ubiquitous. Everyone uses it on a variety of devices. However, when it comes to sensitive healthcare information, the issue of security comes into play. The federal law HIPAA doesn’t take to kindly to breaches.

Dental professionals, and in particular, the orthodontic specialties, use digital cameras to take photographs and videos of patients’ teeth and jaws. They are often shared within the specialties for treatment and planning purposes. With wireless technologies, the images can be sent directly to a patient’s electronic health record (EHR). This can improve the speed at which a patient receives treatment planning and care.

“A wireless digital camera allows you to connect to a network without using cables. This makes it possible to download and save photos directly to a computer as you shoot them, or even connect to a cellular network and share photos, just as you would with a camera phone” (2010).

The above is the ideal, but for those dental professionals that prefer to use the digital camera they already have, in comes wireless technology just for that purpose. Because the learning curve and use of a camera can be a little steep, it’s easier for dental professionals to work with what is already comfortable for them. The more capabilities cameras possess, the more time it takes to understand the cameras.

“The WiPics transmitter easily configures with existing or new wireless networks. WiPics and other wireless devices can eliminate the step of transferring images from a camera-based storage card to a computer by direct wireless transfer, thus eliminating camera-to-computer tethers, such as network cables” (2010).

The purpose of the wireless transmitter such as the WiPics is to allow your digital camera to utilize wireless services. It plugs into a port in the camera and can be configured to allow encryption which prevents security breaches and protects a patients’ health information when sending images over a network.

Lessons learned:

• Wireless transmitters for digital cameras improve the utility of dental photography.
• Eliminates the use of cables or cords which can be inconvenient and cumbersome.
• Images can be sent to a computer or EHR from any location.
• Images can be securely sent over the network for referral purposes.
• Make sure the wireless transmitter is compatible with the camera.
• Make sure the wireless transmitter does not compromise quality of images.
• Make sure wireless transmitter offers back-up at time of capture.
• Wireless transmitters eliminate the stress of full memory cards.

Revankar, A. V., Gandedkar, N. H., and Ganeshkar, S. V. (2010). WiPics: wireless and beyond. Am J Orthod Dentofacial Orthop, 137 (1); 147-149.