A perennial problem with standard digital images is they can only be used for qualitative observation. Information contained in the images is usually uncalibrated and subject to many variances relating to lighting, camera type, camera positioning, patient presentation and type of object being photographed. This makes it virtually impossible for anything other than general observations. As demand grows for digital dermatology, telemedicine, electronic referrals and improved patient documentation, so too will the need for accurate photography.
To overcome this major problem in healthcare, MedeCal Sciences have developed a range of single use calibration strips that are photographed with the image being taken. This simple step looks set to change the way ordinary photography will be used in medicine.
The new calibration strips are available in different sizes to suit anything from simple moles to advanced dermatology conditions, skin cancers, lesions, leg and foot ulcers and wounds. The strips are durable, flexible and include calibration for linear dimension, colour, densitometry and skin tone changes. They also include a shape and focus tool that helps the photography and downstream cloud based image analytics which the company is also working on.
The use of simple calibration strips in medical images is not as widespread as it should be in part becuase a simple "ruler" is often used during image capture, these new strips look set to change all that.
It seems likely that the strips will find use and application in a wide range of medical and clinical areas including clinical research and clinial trials.
Each batch of calibration strips are analysed by the company to allow physical references between the strip and absolute measurements but the ky advantage is to the clinician and carer who now has the ability to build up entire libraries of images which can be compared, normalised and measured. The data that is potentially generated from using calibrated medical photographs should be extremely valuable in treatment, research and trials.
Further information is available at the company's website http://www.medecal.co.uk