Background: With increasing use of smartphones in the practice and delivery of dermatologic care, little is known on patient perceptions regarding its applications in the clinical setting. Objective: To survey patient viewpoints regarding medical photography and the usage of smartphone applications during a medical encounter. Materials and Methods: Cross-sectional survey of adult patients in urban academic and private practice clinics. Patients responded to questionnaires tailored to identify respondent characteristics, preferences of photographing procedure and smartphone uses, and concerns regarding smartphone camera use. Results: Of the 300 patients surveyed, the majority preferred a hospital-owned camera (97.7%) over the use of personal photographing equipment including a physician's digital camera (27.5%) or a physician's smartphone camera (27.2%). The majority found personal smartphones to be an acceptable reference tool (69.7%) and means to provide information to the patient (75.3%). Conclusion: Patients appear to have clear preferences in the equipment used for medical photography and acceptable applications of smartphones, highlighting the importance of feedback in shaping patient-physician interactions. In light of patient opinions on camera preferences, it may be prudent to make a conscientious effort to refrain from using smartphones as a camera in the clinical setting until patient concerns regarding its use can be addressed.
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