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Privacy concerns prompt health board to develop policy on cameras in hospitals

#1 User is offline   hukildaspida 

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Posted 21 December 2015 - 02:24 PM


Privacy concerns prompt health board to develop policy on cameras in hospitals


SAMANTHA GEE

Last updated 08:41, November 26 2015

http://www.stuff.co....as-in-hospitals

Amid growing concerns over the privacy of staff and patients, Nelson Marlborough District Health Board is developing a policy on taking photos, video and audio recordings in hospitals.

The issue was first raised at a board meeting in August by chief medical officer of health Dr Nick Baker, who said concerns had been raised over patients or family members recording video and audio of procedures and consultations.

"We've certainly had situations of people wanting to video things that have surprised us in ward settings," said Baker.

Nelson Marlborough District Health Board chief medical officer of health Dr Nick Baker.

Nelson Marlborough District Health Board chief medical officer of health Dr Nick Baker.

A report to the board said the challenge was how to protect the rights and privacy of patients, families and staff and a request was made for an ethical opinion on the use of cameras and devices in clinical settings.

Baker told board members at the meeting that digital recordings, which included audio and video, could be used as a weapon for the harassment and bullying of staff.

He said patients and families also needed protecting from the increasing risk of privacy being breached by the release of film and video online.

"The key thing is respectful relationships, it's two way system and there needs to be respect for patients and respect for staff," said Baker.

There were policies in place to guide staff recording patients but no current policies around patients recording staff.

Certain circumstances such as filming the delivery of a child was considered reasonable, but it was important guidelines were put in place.

The NMDHB had drafted a position statement in September with guidance from the privacy commissioner and the Capital and Coast District Health Board ethics committee.


Baker said several key principles were noted in regards to taking digital recordings in clinical settings.

Covert recording and recording in public areas, such as corridors, waiting rooms and wards within the hospital was deemed inappropriate.

Consent was required from all parties for any form of digital recordings and it was important people were clear about how the recordings would be used.

Baker said for example, if a patient had a good relationship with their midwife throughout their pregnancy, they might ask them for a photo following the baby's birth. If the midwife provided consent then that was fine, however she might give consent for the photo to appear in a family album but not on Facebook or the front page of the newspaper.

It was therefore important to clarify the how recordings could be used and establishing a policy would help to put guidelines in place.

"Before you record anything you need to think carefully what you are going to do with it," said Baker.

He said some hospitals around the country had taken a hard line and forbidden digital recording altogether in some spaces.

"Our aim is not to stop it but to make sure it is beneficial rather than harmful," said Baker.

He said the position statement would be made public and the board wanted input from the community in developing the policy.

Legislation such as the Harmful Digital Communications Bill, which was passed in July, made it illegal to intentionally cause harm by posting digital communications.

If found guilty, a person could face up to two years in prison and up to a $50,000 fine.

Baker said the Harmful Digital Communications Bill would inform the DHB policy and provide clearer guidance around what was considered harmful.

"Our message to the community is start thinking about it and how to minimise harm and maximise benefit," said Baker. "[The policy] has to be co-designed with our community."

Draft principles for taking digital recordings in clinical settings

- Covert recording, either video or audio, is inappropriate and does not benefit staff or patients.

- Recording is only appropriate when the patients and staff involved consent, otherwise it is a breach of the Health Information Privacy Code.

- Clarity around how recordings will be used and disseminated is a key part of any consent process prior to recording, to protect the privacy of patients and staff.

- Recording in public areas within health facilities risks breaching the privacy of other patients and staff and is therefore inappropriate.

- Stuff
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