PROFESSIONAL medical photography is a widely established practice for evidencing care, recording patient condition and teaching.
What is less understood is the extent and practice of clinician-taken medical photography during day-to-day clinical duties in Australian tertiary hospitals.
Given the sensitive nature of health care, the legal and ethical implications of medical photography are significant.
A recent survey of clinicians from 13 purposefully chosen wards about clinician-taken medical photography has highlighted the need for tertiary hospitals in Australia to develop policies on the issue.
One-fifth of clinicians surveyed reported taking photographs on personal mobile phones, and the lack of written consent from patients was endemic.
The use of personal mobile phones for medical photography places patient information and data at risk of unauthorised distribution into the public domain.
The study found a widespread misunderstanding by clinicians about labelling, storage, copyright and the associated cultural concerns with clinician-performed medical photography.