You are on the wards on a weekend shift and you are asked by the nursing staff to review a 45-year-old female following recent mastectomy and immediate breast reconstruction surgery as they are concerned about the wound. You examine the wound and describe your findings to the on-call surgical registrar. They are not in the hospital so they ask you to take a photo of the breast on your mobile phone and text it to them. You are somewhat hesitant as the patient is a well-known television host. You are reassured by the registrar that clinical photos are taken all the time and he will delete the photo later.
Whilst walking towards the patient, a number of questions go through your mind…
The Australian Medical Association (AMA) and the Medical Indemnity Industry Association of Australia (MIIAA) have produced a guide for the proper use of personal mobile devices when taking clinical images. The guide outlines the key ethical and legal issues to be aware of before using a personal mobile device to take or transmit clinical images for the purpose of providing clinical care.
This is a valuable guide for all hospital doctors.
However, it should be read with any relevant hospital policies related to clinical images and the use of personal mobile devices.