#DigitalProfessionalism in #PlasticSurgery

by Anna K Steve (@annakstevemd) and Mieke Heyns

University of Calgary

The ability to demonstrate professionalism is central to all residency training programs.  It is named as one of the core competencies by the American Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) in the United states and the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons in Canada. [1, 2] Despite regular use of smartphones for both social media and clinical photography within plastic surgery, training programs have yet to focus on standards for #DigitalProfessionalism in #PlasticSurgery.

In a digital era, the use of social media to educate and engage has been encouraged by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and its Journal. The importance of board-certified plastic surgeons joining the #PlasticSurgery discussion has been promoted and popularized by Branford et al. [3] In addition to growing use of smartphones for social media, up to 89% of plastic surgeons and 100% of plastic surgery residents use their smartphones for clinical photography. [4]

Our research team at the University of Calgary identified a lack of concise national guidelines for safe use of clinical photography using smartphones. 

Figure 1

Figure 1

To fill this gap, we collaborated with the Canadian Medical Association to develop Best Practice Guidelines for the Use of Smartphones and Smart-Devices for Clinical Photography (Figure 1) as a starting point for defining standards to guide #DigitalProfessionalism in #PlasticSurgery. The guidelines focus on six main categories: consent, transmission, storage,  audit, retention, and breach and can be accessed through the Canadian Medical Association’s PolicyBase. [5]

As the use of social media and smartphones grows in plastic surgery, technology that allows us to maintain #DigitalProfessionalism in #PlasticSurgery will become increasingly important. ShareSmart (@ShareSmartApp), an application developed by plastic surgeons and launched by Think Tank Innovations is compliant with the recently published Best Practice Guidelines for the Use of Smartphones and Smart-Devices for Clinical Photography and is available free for download for iOS and Android devices. It offers a safe solution to those wanting to use their smartphones for transmission and storage of patient information and clinical photos while maintaining #DigitalProfessionalism. [6]

As board-certified plastic surgeons and residents join the #PlasticSurgery discussion on #SoMe, we encourage you to use the #DigitalProfessionalism to promote other resources, like the CMA PolicyBase and @ShareSmartApp that support safe use of technology and social media in #PlasticSurgery.

  1. The Plastic Surgery Milestone Project. A Joint Initiative of The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education and The American Board of Plastic Surgery, Inc. July 2015: http://www.acgme.org/Portals/0/PDFs/Milestones/PlasticSurgeryMilestones.pdf?ver=2016-05-31-113719-180
  2. CanMEDS: Better standards, better physicians, better care. Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. http://www.royalcollege.ca/rcsite/canmeds/canmeds-framework-e
  3. Branford, O. et al. #PlasticSurgery. Plast Reconstr Surg. 2016. 138 (6). 1354-1365.
  4. Chan, N., et al., Should ‘smart phones’ be used for patient photography? Plastic Surgery. 24(1): 32-4.
  5. Heyns M, Steve A, Dumestre D, Frankie OG, Yeung JK. Best Practice Guidelines for Smartphones and Smart-Devices for Clinical Photography. CMA PolicyBase. 2018
  6. Heyns M, Steve A. ShareSmart: An Application for Clinical Photography Using Smartphones, in PRS Resident Chronicles, R. Rohrich, Editor. 2017.

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