Hospital docs taking photos on smartphones face legal ramifications

The study, performed by the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, showed that 48% of 170 clinicians from a tertiary hospital took medical photographs, 20% of them on personal mobile phones.

However, only 62% of clinicians who photographed patients for medical files indicated they always got consent, and written consent occurred in only 36 cases, compared with verbal consent in 78 cases.

The majority of surveyed staff, which included doctors and nurses, printed the images for the patient’s file or stored them on the hospital’s hard drive, but a small number of images were stored on mobile phones, memory sticks and personal computers.

The authors said staff who photographed patients on mobile phones and failed to delete the images risked the pictures being used beyond the original purpose.

“If this hospital ignores staffs’ lack of policy compliance and mobile phone use, patients’ personal information is at

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