Patient-generated health data are increasingly used to record health and well-being concerns and engage patients in clinical care. Patient-generated photographs and videos are accessible and meaningful to patients, making them especially relevant during the current COVID-19 pandemic. However, a systematic review of photos and videos used by patients across different areas of health and well-being is lacking.
This review aims to synthesize the existing literature on the health and well-being contexts in which patient-generated photos and videos are used, the value gained by patients and health professionals, and the challenges experienced.
Guided by a framework for scoping reviews, we searched eight health databases (CINAHL, Cochrane Library, Embase, PsycINFO, PubMed, MEDLINE, Scopus, and Web of Science) and one computing database (ACM), returning a total of 28,567 studies. After removing duplicates and screening based on the predefined inclusion criteria, we identified 110 relevant articles. Data were charted and articles were analyzed following an iterative thematic approach with the assistance of NVivo software (version 12; QSR International).
Patient-generated photos and videos are used across a wide range of health care services (39/110, 35.5% articles), for example, to diagnose skin lesions, assess dietary intake, and reflect on personal experiences during therapy. In addition, patients use them to self-manage health and well-being concerns (33/110, 30%) and to share personal health experiences via social media (36/110, 32.7%). Photos and videos create significant value for health care (59/110, 53.6%), where images support diagnosis, explanation, and treatment (functional value). They also provide value directly to patients through enhanced self-determination (39/110, 35.4%), social (33/110, 30%), and emotional support (21/110, 19.1%). However, several challenges emerge when patients create, share, and examine photos and videos, such as limited accessibility (16/110, 14.5%), incomplete image sets (23/110, 20.9%), and misinformation through photos and videos shared on social media (17/110, 15.5%).
This review shows that photos and videos engage patients in meaningful ways across different health care activities (eg, diagnosis, treatment, and self-care) for various health conditions. Although photos and videos require effort to capture and involve challenges when patients want to use them in health care, they also engage and empower patients, generating unique value. This review highlights areas for future research and strategies for addressing these challenges.