Legal vs illegal: pictures/voice recordings/ personal data in health care facilities

Nurses General Nursing


  • by zuzi
    Specializes in trauma, ortho, burns, plastic surgery.

You have right to make pictures in health care facilities for/to patients, personal, staff?

You have right to make voice recordings in health care facilities for/to patients, personal , staff ?

Who (what type employee) can have acces on patients recordings, staff/personal information?

Is a very dirty area... and need to clarified, special for people that don't know what legal implication are here or belive that is a joke. Please clarify for me from american point of view!


34 Posts

Um who has time for this? I can barely get done what I actually need to do besides worrying about this sort of thing.


38,333 Posts

You should ask your facility risk management people or your management about this issue. It is probably like most medical institutions where the patient signs a blanket release when they are admitted that allows such activity for specific purposes. This release would specify who has access to the info and under what circumstances it may occur. One of my agencies had patients and/or representatives sign a release to allow photographs to be taken for identification purposes. The photo was placed in the front of the chart, so anyone opening the chart would have access to the photo. Another instance would be the photographing of wounds to document progress of wound healing, commonly done by wound care specialists or treatment nurses.

Whispera, MSN, RN

3,458 Posts

Specializes in psych, addictions, hospice, education.

No one in a healthcare facility can take pictures or make voice recordings of a patient without their written permission or the written permission of their power of attorney, in America. It is absolutely forbidden.


502 Posts

Specializes in trauma, ortho, burns, plastic surgery.

For nurses or staff members, is legal that in the time of activity the patient, the family member, the legal representive or other staff to make pictures, recordings? What is legal and what is not?

Who has the legal right from the whole staff of health care facilities to acess patient medical data and personal information?


38,333 Posts

This is covered in HIPAA regulations. If the patient is not your patient, you have no right to be looking at their data, and certainly no right to be disseminating this info anywhere. It has recently been reported that a healthcare worker has been sentenced to prison for violating a patient's privacy. And many people have been getting fired from their jobs for that same thing. All of this is basic.


502 Posts

Specializes in trauma, ortho, burns, plastic surgery.

What about pictures or voice recordings made by family members or other staff nurses or not nurses related, about legal representatives, not inclued in unit policy or in any other agreements?

What about change shift reports recordings, even if is not a policy agreement about it? I understand that are hospital who used it... they have an agreement for it?

Any member of health care team (PT, OT, dietician, CNAs, nurses, Dr, ...) that is working with a patient could have acces to ALL medical information of this patient or are specifical information that they could only be accesed?

I just try to clarify the legal limits because we live in a strange world, where all these cameras, phones with cameras and recorders, 10.000 of gadgets are on the market and a lot of sick minds around... and we live where "the king is the dollar".

So just clarify for me, please!

Oh dear I have thousand of questions about it.. I could edit the message 10.000 times

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