Second OpinionsCell Phone Photos in the OR

Cell Phone Photos in the OR

We seem to have a rash of surgeons lately who want to take photos of patients' surgeries. For example, a picture of a colon, an augementation after mastectomy, a very large goiter, etc. Our policy states that we can only take pictures with the OR camera, but that copies will be provided to surgeons and the chart. But surgeons want to be able to upload photos directly to their e-mail or their office computers, so they take pictures with cell phones.

What's the general consensus on this dilemma? I have instructed our staff that under no circumstances are they allowed to take pictures with surgeons' cell phones. If they're requested to do so, they should relate the policy, but should not take the photo themselves. This issue has been addressed among the med staff and by our chief of surgery. What would you do?

Started by: Jeanette Sartain (OR Manager/Supervisor) at December 22, 2015 (3:52 pm)

Comments and Responses

 

I'm surrounded in the OR with LAZY co-workers (Circulating Nurses)! That head down, texting, social media. Only the charge nurse should have a cell phone. Used to communicate with reps, etc.
OVER IT!

Charlotte H. (Other) at April 25, 2018 (10:52 pm)

There is a logical salution to this problem but, we first must understand all the problems.
For one.
Why does the Doctor need a picture taken.
What kind of concent is needed.
Will a general concent cover you in court.
Does the patient really understand what they are concenting to and how these said pictures will be used.
If this is to becomes a trend then, just as the radiology tech comes in to run the C-arm. A camera tech will have to be created.That way, Only what needs to be in the picture is in the picture. Everything else is edited out.Just as the Radiologist reviews things. So would a Visual Supervisor.

D. Delaware (Other) at April 3, 2018 (12:41 pm)

It is perfectly normal for the surgeon to want to take photos from time to time. However, with their cell phones, absolutely NOT. There needs to be a camera that belongs to the facility. The facility can then take the photos and process the photo by keeping it in a secured hipaa compliant online folder of sort. You can reference the photo in the medical record to announce that there is a photo, but I would not just let anyone have access to this folder. In courts of law, the photos become very viable works of either defense or opposite. You are supposed to be able to convey to the judge that the medical record has not been tampered with, if you are not in control of this photo then you cannot attest to its authenticity.

Word to the wise, the death of Joan Rivers set the precedent for taking photos without any consent. Get the consent form signed by the patient in case there is the need to photograph. Staff should not even have their phones on them to be able to use such phone to take pictures. if your surgeons are running around photographing patients, then you have a much bigger problem and are going to have to start to administer disciplinary actions against them to protect you and the facility. Get a handle on this quick, very dangerous grounds that can be a sinking sand effect if it comes to a lawsuit. Remember the case with the physician stealing propofol from the center. They planted a camera near the anesthesia cart to catch who was doing the stealing. they caught the one doing it but the camera also caught women having labia reduction surgeries. This attempt to catch the thief ended up costing the hospital millions for allowing the camera to catch the sideview of the patient having surgery. Be very careful with cameras.

troy l. (Administrator/Director/Manager/Owner/Exec. Officer) at March 6, 2018 (2:34 pm)

If the patient needs to see the pictures from their surgery how can they get them from their medical records. You can not get that through the regular request process for your medical records. The only time you get a copy of your pictures is when you have a colonoscopy or knee surgery.

Brenda T. (Other) at May 21, 2016 (1:13 am)

Photographs for the medical record that support the diagnosis and results are a good idea. To take them with a cell phone is a bad idea. There are HIPAA regulations that would make photos with a cell phone a bad idea. There are an abundance of scenarios where a picture could innocently be viewed or worse uploaded to a cloud program or even worse social media without the knowledge of the person who took the picture. To save space on my phone I have pictures automatically uploaded to a cloud that I share with my family.
Secondly, you need to be careful regarding what else is being captured in the picture as it does become part of the medical record and is discoverable. I have had cases where the MD was brought up to the board because an innocent picture in the OR showed a break in regulations.
Eric Conn Risk Manager at Universal Healthcare Consulting

Eric Conn (Other) at January 15, 2016 (4:10 pm) [last edited on January 15, 2016 (4:11 pm)]

Personal cell phones are against policy in our OR. A Corporate policy has been instituted prohibiting taking photos in procedure rooms with personal cell phones. Our OR has a camera for taking photos. The pictures are down loaded to a Sim card and the surgeon can print them. After the photos are printed they are deleted.

AUDREY I. I. WILLIAMS (Other) at December 24, 2015 (5:47 am)

Cell phones should not be in the O.R. at all they are not sterile and no one should be taking pictures of the patient/procedure with a cell phone. They are not secure devises. In addition, Consent Forms in Teaching Hospitals allow for photos during the surgery. Consent Forms in the Non-Teaching Hospitals I have been in do not have anything in the Consent Forms NO mention of "CONSENT TO OBSERVE AND PHOTOGRAPH" ... in these consent forms. Please do not make a blanket statement that "Patients give permission for this in their Informed Consent". This just is not true in all hospitals or outpatient facilities. As for L and D or during a C-section I would hope the pictures would be family friendly and videos should not be allowed. But check out YouTube. Videos of Vaginal births are are everywhere and they are not very family friendly. Yeeks!

Brenda Troth (Other) at December 23, 2015 (6:39 pm)

Labor and Delivery is a whole different story. One family member is allowed in the OR during a C-section. Administration and staff in courage family to take pictures of the new born baby and family pictures. "Family friendly" We have had issues of family members wanting to video the surgery. Even though, they have been given specific instructions not to take video or pictures of the "Surgery". The use of cell phones is making the policy more difficult to enforce. The CRNAs are the enforcers because the surgeons nor the staff are paying attention to the family member. Administration wants the environment to remain "Baby friendly". Granted most family members follow the rules but the 10% that do not, disrupts the "friendly" experience.
Kelley Gardner, CRNA, MS
Owner Kelley Gardner, CRNA, Inc.
Director of OB Anesthesia Methodist Hospital

Kelley Garnder (Anesthesiologist/Nurse Anesthetist) at December 23, 2015 (5:50 pm)

Labor and Delivery is a whole different story. One family member is allowed in the OR during a C-section. Administration and staff in courage family to take pictures of the new born baby and family pictures. "Family friendly" We have had issues of family members wanting to video the surgery. Even though, they have been given specific instructions not to take video or pictures of the "Surgery". The use of cell phones is making the policy more difficult to enforce. The CRNAs are the enforcers because the surgeons nor the staff are paying attention to the family member. Administration wants the environment to remain "Baby friendly". Granted most family members follow the rules but the 10% that do not, disrupts the "friendly" experience.

Kelley Garnder (Anesthesiologist/Nurse Anesthetist) at December 23, 2015 (5:46 pm)

Photos are a valuable form of medical record. Surgeons can use their personal camera in whatever form. Patients give permission for this in their informed. Consent.

Gordon Wuebbolt (Medical Director/Chief Surgeon) at December 23, 2015 (3:55 pm)

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