The ethics of clinical photography and social media
- 1.3k Downloads
Clinical photography is an important tool for medical practice, training and research. While in the past clinical pictures were confined to the stringent controls of surgeries and hospitals technological advances have made possible to take pictures and share them through the internet with only a few clicks. Confronted with this possibility I explore if a case could be made for using clinical photography in tandem with social media. In order to do this I explore: (1) if patient’s informed consent is required for the publication of any clinical images that depicts her, irrespective of whether the patient can be identified from the image or not, (2) if social media is an adequate place for clinical images to be displayed, and finally (3) if there are special considerations that should be taken into account when publishing clinical images on social media.
KeywordsClinical photography Informed consent Medical publishing Patient protection Social media
The author wish to acknowledge the stimulus and support of the iSEI Wellcome Strategic Programme in The Human Body: Its scope, limits and future (Grant Number: WT 087439/Z/08/Z) and Mexico’s National Council of Science and Technology (CONACyT). I am also grateful to Adriana Clavel-Vázquez, Sarah Chan, John Harris, Nicolas Agar and Ian Berle for their comments on an earlier version of this article. Finally, I also wish to thank the comments provided by the members of the Centre for Social Ethics and Policy and the Institute for Science, Ethics and Innovation at The University of Manchester after a verbal presentation of a previous version of this article.
- British Medical Association. (2011). Taking and using visual and audio recordings of patients. London: BMA. Retrieved from http://bma.org.uk/-/media/Files/…/takingusingvisualaudiorecordings2011.pdf.Google Scholar
- Facebook. 2012. Statement of rights and responsibilities. Retrieved September 30, 2013, from https://www.facebook.com/legal/terms.
- General Medical Council. 2011. Making and using visual and audio recordings of patients: Contents. London. Retrieved from http://www.gmc-uk.org/guidance/ethical_guidance/7818.asp.
- Gibson, M. J. 2011, April 1. Nursing students expelled for posting photo of a placenta on Facebook. Time. Retrieved from http://newsfeed.time.com/2011/01/04/nursing-students-expelled-for-posting-photo-of-a-placenta-on-facebook/.
- Hamm, M.P., A. Chisholm, J. Shulhan, A. Milne, S.D. Scott, T.P. Klassen, and L. Hartling. 2013. Social media use by health care professionals and trainees: A scoping review. Academic medicine: Journal of the Association of American Medical Colleges 88(9): 1376–1383. doi: 10.1097/ACM.0b013e31829eb91c.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Institute of Medical Illustrators. 2008. Code of professional conduct. Retrieved September 5, 2013, from http://www.imi.org.uk/file/download/2145/IMIcodeofcondustJune2008.pdf.
- International Committee of Medical Journal Editors. 2010. Uniform requirements for manuscripts submitted to biomedical journals: Writing and editing for biomedical publication. Retrieved September 26, 2013, from http://www.icmje.org/roles_e.html.
- Parent, W.A. 1983. Privacy, morality, and the law. Philosophy & Public Affairs 12(4): 269–288.Google Scholar
- Rijt, R.V.der, and Hoffman S. 2013. Ethical considerations of clinical photography in an area of emerging technology and smartphones. Journal of Medical Ethics, medethics–2013–101479. doi: 10.1136/medethics-2013-101479.
- Salerni, G., C. Carrera, L. Lovatto, J.A. Puig-Butille, C. Badenas, E. Plana, and J. Malvehy. 2012. Benefits of total body photography and digital dermatoscopy (“two-step method of digital follow-up”) in the early diagnosis of melanoma in patients at high risk for melanoma. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology 67(1): e17–e27. doi: 10.1016/j.jaad.2011.04.008.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Salter, B.J. (2008, August 19). Nurses posts brain surgery pictures on Facebook. Telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/2583411/Nurses-posts-brain-surgery-pictures-on-Facebook.html.
- Vivas, M.L. 2012, April 18. Cesa IMSS a anestesióloga por burlarse de pacientes en Facebook. Proceso. Retrieved September 26, 2013, from http://www.proceso.com.mx/?p=304669.