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Do you know what to do when patients are videotaping their care?

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Patients using social media in hospitals is nothing new, and most organizations have social media policies to address the usage of social media by its staff, patients and visitors.

In recent months, however, we have seen the rise of patients and family members documenting care through photos and videos. During this “selfie” craze, it’s important to review your social media policy to see if it includes the appropriate guidelines for patients and visitors when taking photos and videos within your facility. You should also ensure the policy allows for staff to request that the recordings be discontinued.

Some health systems have a strict policy that restricts photography and videotaping in all instances, but that is difficult to enforce as well as leads to unnecessary friction between patients and staff. A policy that outlines best practices and then allows for the filming to be terminated at the staff’s discretion is the best approach.

Now that you’re sure your policy has the correct verbiage, does your staff know how to handle specific situations as they arise? In health care, it’s imperative that care givers are able to concentrate on doing their jobs, and sometimes an extra distraction like being recorded could lead to costly mistakes.

Here are some things for your staff to consider when deciding whether to allow recordings during specific instances:

– If it’s a family or friend recording, is the patient aware and consenting to what’s going on?
– Do you feel it’s in the patient’s best interest to be filmed/photographed?
– Are other patients or visitors being taped?
– Do staff feel unable to concentrate on their patient care duties?

If the answers to these questions give your staff pause, don’t hesitate to request that patients or families discontinue the filming or photography. While the request may not be popular, it’s ultimately in the best interest of all involved to create the highest quality health care setting possible.

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