When adopting the use of mobile devices within your practice it is essential that all regulations are strictly adhered to. To support this process, the following guide outlines the key legal issues to be aware of in Australia before using a mobile device to take clinical images when providing care.
When capturing clinical images or collecting other personal information the healthcare provider must receive consent. Although each country provides unique laws regarding the documentation and sharing of patient data, it is important to be aware of the following items:
Purpose of Image Acquisition: Consider the reason the image is required and obtain appropriate (verbal or written) consent
Patient Communication: Ensure the patient understands the reasons for taking the image, how it will be used, and to whom it will be shown
Documented Consent: Record the consent process and confirm with the health service/hospital’s requirements for written consent
Transmission of Data: Clinical images cannot be sent to anyone else unless the patient’s consent within reasonable grounds is received
Patient information is private- as such it is part of every medical expert’s clinical duty to keep patient records confidential and properly documented. Therefore, it is essential to record who took the image, and when/how it was taken. If using a mobile device (eg. smartphone, tablet) to capture images medical professionals must:
Ensure images do not auto upload to any social media or other app that might risk the patient’s privacy.
Delete any clinical images from your device after capture
Have controls to prevent unauthorised access (including passwords)
Using MoleScope & DermEngine For Secure Image Storage
By using DermEngine (a dermatology EMR software) healthcare providers do not have to worry about retention or protection of health information (including clinical images) from misuse, loss, unauthorised access or interference, modification, and disclosure.
All information entered in DermEngine is encrypted, with all controls for secure access, permissions and possible data breaches provided. By utilizing the DermEngine app to capture clinical images users are removed from a number of major risks, allowing physicians to:
Ensure clinical images do not auto-upload to any social media networks or back-up sites that might be publicly available
Access confidential files via unique credentials (login/password) only
Avoid the risk of unauthorised access if the device is lost or stolen
Preventing an image being sent by mistake to an unauthorised third party
Eliminate the worry of deleting these images from a mobile phone, as images will no longer be directly on that device
DermEngine allows healthcare professionals to include customized consent documentation under their accounts and collect digital signatures from patients. These signatures are then stored on the software and linked to that patient’s profile. Documenting the consent process on DermEngine allows for an easier and quicker experience, as there is no paper to be stored which would require additional space and security processes.
Data Accessibility & Communication
With DermEngine, medical professionals can provide your patients with exclusive access to the free MoleScope dermatology app. If it suits the needs of the practice practice, a teledermatology program can be established at the clinic, office or hospital by providing them with MoleScope dermoscope devices (home edition) to act as a patient portal for them to submit dermoscopy images for feedback.
In this scenario, images taken by the patients will be identified as the patient’s property. The quality of the clinical image is a key consideration; by using the MoleScope app and device, patients will have the ability to share images of professional quality. Additionally, all information and pictures will be securely stored and shared with you on the platform while being documented within the patient’s profile for enhanced monitoring and care provision.
-The MetaOptima Team
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