Health Information Management

Q&A: Patient photographs

HIM-HIPAA Insider, April 27, 2009

Q. Is it a breach of patient privacy and confidentiality if we print the patient’s picture on patient labels, which are on each page of the medical record, and armbands without obtaining written consent? (We are a behavioral health center.)

Getting written consent to photograph a patient is advisable, and that consent form should indicate how you will use the photograph. In the case of a behavioral health center, patients may be particularly sensitive about having their photograph on every page of their medical records.

Editor's note: Mary Brandt, MBA, RHIA, CHE, CHPS, president of Bellaire, TX-based Brandt & Associates, LLC, answered this question. This is not legal advice. Consult your attorney for legal matters

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