Clinical Images Online

Last updated 7 August 2010

The internet era gives clinicians unprecedented access to clinical images for learning and teaching purposes – and no matter how old some of us may be, we all remain students until the end.

Here are some useful clinical image collections for use primarily by doctors in emergency medicine and intensive care medicine. Of course, we being disciples of the ‘Open Source Messiah’, the emphasis is firmly on free-to-use resources.

Clinical Image Collections Online – The definitive online case-based medical learning website includes links to the best images from some of the major general medical journals -especially the NEJM, Lancet and BMJ. The site is organised by specialty with a link to the images below the lists of cases. Here are the clinical image specialty links for ready reference:

  • Catalog of Clinical Images — UCSD’s exceptional collection of photographs of physical examination findings organized by anatomical region.
  • HEAL — Health Education Assets Library (HEAL) is a hugely impressive digital repository that allows medical educators to discover, download, and re-use over 22,000 medical education resources, including images and videos. Registration is free.
  • Trauma Image Database — A categorized collection of trauma-related images from
  • PhotoRounds — Brief ‘test yourself’ clinical images best viewed as ‘unknowns’.
  • Eye Atlas Online — A beautifully presented database of images of eye diseases crafted in Italy. Ted Montgomery’s eye images are also a great resource.
  • DermisNet, DermNet, and DermNet NZ – Being such a visually-orientated specialty it is not surprising that there are an abundance of quality dermatology image collections out there. These are my favourites for when I need to clinch a diagnosis of ‘aplasia cutis congenita circumscripta‘…
  • MedicalPix and Medical Multimedia Kits are two great resources for 3D animations, videos, PPT backgrounds and clinical image databanks

Life in the Fast LaneVAQs and Clinical Cases and Case-based Q&As. The VAQs are based on the actual ‘visual assessment questions’ used in previous FACEM part 2 exams – highly recommended!

Clinical Images from Medical Journals

No journal subscriptions are needed to access any of these high-quality resources:

NEJM Featured Images in Clinical Medicine — the classic web-only series from the New England Journal of Medicine – alternatively, try the addictive NEJM Image Challenge.

  • CMAJ Clinical Images — The search results for ‘clinical images’ – open access classic, dramatic or note-worthy clinical images from the journal of the Canadian Medical Association.
  • Clinical Pearls: Photographic Case Reports — a collection from the journal Academic Emergency Medicine.
  • Diagnosis at a Glance — The entire series from Emergency Medicine.

Images in Emergency Medicine — Much of this collection of images from this series in the Annals of Emergency Medicine can be accessed free online.

Clinical Imaging — Radiology and Ultrasonography

Emergency medicine-orientated:

EMPACS — Emergency Medicine Picture Archiving & Communication System – This is an impressive resource providing annotated images relevant to emergency settings from all modalities (USS, XR, CT, MRI, etc). Registration is free and all images may be reused if appropriately referenced to It even features a quiz mode.

Other radiology resources:

  • Cases from The Radiology Assistant — This Dutch website is impressive… Its a great way to learn radiology.
  • — There is a massive ‘Case of the Week’ archive as well as an image index.
  • Interpretation of the ICU Chest Film — An excellent beginner’s guide to the sometimes bewildering chest film in intensive care.

Pediatric radiology resources:

Pathology, Microbiology and Parasitology

  • PathWeb — it is no small mercy for docs in the ED and ICU that we rarely have to look pathological specimens, but if you ever need to, this massive database is a good place to go.
  • DPDx Parasite Image Library — A superbly presented collection of parasite images from the CDC.
  • Malaria— – An excellent resource from Royal Perth Hospital for learning how to identify malaria parasites on blood films.

If you know of other image-based web resources that deserve to be on this list please drop us a line.

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  1. Andrew Kestler says

    Does EMPACS image repository referenced above still exist? No easy links found on google search. and have nothing to do with EM