Thursday, September 19, 2013

It Is Important To Do The Right Thing With Social Media And Smartphones In The Clinical Environment. Lots of Traps And Risks.

Three items have appeared that I spotted in the last week have been on this topic.
First we have this:

Smartphones raise privacy issue in healthcare

Date September 12, 2013 - 1:00PM

Amy Corderoy

Health Editor, Sydney Morning Herald

We've all heard the urban legend of the patient who turns up in hospital emergency with something inserted where it shouldn't be.
But is the easy availability of camera phones encouraging doctors and nurses to take a souvenir snap of the occasion?
A study of one big Australian hospital has found about half of all doctors and nurses take photos of patients in hospital – and one in five using their personal smartphone.
Study author and researcher at RMIT University in Melbourne Kara Burns said the easy availability of camera phones was improving patient care and medical training, but raised serious privacy issues.
"Everybody that you talk to that works in healthcare will have an experience of seeing a doctor pulling out a phone, or even being the patient who is being photographed," said Ms Burns, a medical photographer. "Doctors definitely feel that it is part of good practice to document a patient's condition."
Yet nearly 40 per cent of doctors and nurses surveyed did not always obtain consent for their photos. And "non-compliance with written consent requirements ... was endemic", she wrote in the journal Australian Health Review.
She said the photos were overwhelmingly taken for inclusion in a patient's file, or for medical education, but it was clear there was also immense public interest in medical photographs.
More here:
We also had this:

Hospital docs taking photos on smartphones face legal ramifications

13th Sep 2013
A FIFTH of Australian hospital doctors take photographs of patients using their smartphones, new data shows, potentially exposing themselves and their hospital to legal ramifications because the images aren’t secure.
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.

Aust Health Rev 2013; 37: 437-441
More here:
We also had some advice for those using the social media space for clinically relevant purposes:

7 online safety tips for doctors

It is good to see that social media and eHealth are becoming mainstream topics at national health conferences. At the recent GP Education & Training Conference in Perth (GPET13) I attended two workshops about our professional online presence.
The first one was about the benefits of social media and was attended by GP supervisors, registrars and students. The second one, sponsored by a medical defence organisation, warned about the dangers of the online world, and interestingly there were mainly GP supervisors in the room.
Before I continue I must declare that I was one of the presenters at the first workshop. But it was good to be reminded by professor Stephen Trumble about what can go wrong. His excellent presentation created a lively discussion. Here are seven random points I took home from the workshop.

Read the tips here:
There is really some important reading here for those who are in situations where the advice is relevant.
I have to say I certainly learnt a few things!

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