Your healthcare organization is filled with people who are making a difference for your patients and their families, and you want to showcase their stories through the media. Maybe you have a patient who wants to share his or her story of strength and determination with the masses; maybe you have a volunteer who is going the extra mile or maybe that state-of-the art piece of equipment that your hospital just put into practice is changing the industry for the better – no matter the story, there’s a way to go about facilitating media interviews, keeping patients in mind.
The most important thing to keep at the forefront when working with the media is patient confidentiality. Be sure your organization has a media release form on file to use anytime a camera, recorder or other multimedia device is used. Not sure when a release should be signed? Err on the side of obtaining a patient signature if there is ever a doubt – common best practice is to have a form signed anytime a patient appears on camera. For example, if an interview is taking place in a corner of the lobby and patients walk through, everyone present and within camera shot would have to fill out a form.
Additionally, always remember that if a person’s medical history or treatment is going to be discussed with the media, a release needs to be signed. Once the media release is signed (assuming you landed your pitch), invite the TV, radio or newspaper crew to your campus or preferred location.
Here are some guidelines to follow next:
- Greet media in the lobby or another predetermined location. Once they are onsite, stay with them to guide them to the interviewee (again, in a predetermined location).
- If it’s a TV news crew, survey the scene once the camera is set up. Make sure other patients won’t be in view of the camera (unless a consent form is signed). Guide other patients or family members around the camera to keep them out of the shots.
- Once the interview concludes, the news crew may want to obtain b-roll footage. Determine areas that are low traffic that can be shot, and monitor the area while the crew films to make sure patients don’t appear on camera if they have not given consent. If the area contains files and medical documents, turn them over on the desk or store them to avoid accidental filming of confidential information.
- Once filming and interviews conclude, escort media back to the lobby or entrance where they were greeted.
By following these guidelines, you’ll keep your patient’s information secure and avoid HIPAA violations.