Before and After Photos: Regulation and Compliance in Healthcare

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For a Plastic Surgeon to use a personal cell phone, there is a big problem because it is not advisable according to the law instead he/she is supposed to use a medical practice dedicated cell phone. To use a personal cell phone to take patients photos is contrary to the laws that regulate the health care practices. In that regard, photos taken in a personal cell phone has no consent of the patient hence leading to violation of HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) ( Thuesen et al., 2014). In that case, even though before-and-after photos are one of the best ways to provide the assurance level and show procedural results that plastic surgeon will deliver the required outcomes. Photos are important and accepted as they are used during the consultation of plastic surgery and exploration process but should be done legally with a signed disclaimer. In that case, any physician should bear in mind any photo is taken without the patients consent demoralize him/her.

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A disclaimer is any statement that is expected to specify the scope of obligations and rights that may be enforced and exercised by parties in a relationship that is legally recognized. In contrast to that, the term disclaimer implies to circumstances that involve some level of risk, waiver, or uncertainty (Hubner et al., 2013). A disclaimer specifies privately arranged and mutually agreed on conditions and terms as part of a contract. As per a Plastic Surgeon, taking photos using the personal phone is contrary to the disclaimer because there is no consent of the patient. To abide by the laws that regulate the health care practices the physician is supposed to use a medical practice dedicated cell phone. In such terms, the physician is at position of fulfilling a duty of care to prevent an unreasonable risk of injury or harm. For a physician to take photos using the personal phone is against the HIPAA because there is no contract to abide them with the patient hence no disclaimer. Due to that, taking photos using personal phone has no regard to the status of the disclaimer.

The physicians action of taking patients photos using personal cell phone without his/her consent violates the Health Insurance Portability, and Accountability Act provisions which were created purposely to protect medical records and health information used by other healthcare providers, health plans, hospitals, and doctors(Starmer, et al., 2014). These HIPAA regulations apply to both medical practitioners, regardless of them being a medical doctor, chiropractor, dentist, or plastic surgeon. The HIPAA is so effective in providing confidentiality levels regarding patients information for healthcare and treatment operations. However, for some consumers, HIPAA is understood as a way of securing confidential medical records and protect an individuals privacy during the process of a medical procedure or consult. In that regard, the physician needs not to violate regulations, which protect the patients privacy and the image of a health Centre.

Physicians need to be very clear in writing by indicating how photos are taken and used in practice to avoid confusion. Such photo taking is not limited, but it includes visual recordings, videotaping, digital imaging, post- and pre-procedure pictures (Nakagomi, et al., 2016). On the other hand, a physician need to find out the permission of the patient before putting the information in public because not all patients need their procedure to published even if there is consent.

To Conclude, in order for the physician to protect himself and his practice he/she should state in writing explicitly why a photo is taken, provide guidelines for how other images, digital recordings, videos, and photos are used to document care. Maintain all likenesses and photos for patients access at any time; store other likenesses, videotaping, digital recordings, and photos in a way that is secure. In that conjunction, create a separate form of consent for images used for teaching applications or publicity.



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Thuesen, B. H., Cerqueira, C., Aadahl, M., Ebstrup, J. F., Toft, U., Thyssen, J. P., ... & Hansen, T. (2014). Cohort Profile: the Health2006 cohort, research centre for prevention and health. International journal of epidemiology, 43(2), 568-575.

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