Videotaping or Filming - Circumstances When Informed Consent is Required

Under what circumstances is an informed consent required prior to recording, filming or photographing patient care?

Any examples are for illustrative purposes only.

An informed consent is required any time recordings, films or other images* of patients are used for purposes other than the identification, diagnosis or treatment of the patient. Examples of such use may include, but not limited to performance improvement, education, promotional literature, etc. 

When a patient is comatose or unable to provide informed consent and no surrogate decision maker is available, the organization may record, film or photograph patient care activities. However, an informed consent must be obtained before the images can be used or released for any purpose. 

Organizations are required to have a written policy that describes:
• The specific care, treatment, and services that require informed consent
• The circumstances that would allow for exceptions to obtaining informed consent
• The process used to obtain informed consent
• Documentation of informed consent in the patient record

Such a policy must also address circumstances under which images of patients may be obtained through recording devices(cameras, cell phones, etc), how such images may be used, when an informed consent is required and actions to prevent unauthorized access and use.

Organizations should also work with their risk management and legal counsel to determine any state or federal requirements that may also apply. 

* The term “recordings, films, or other images” refers to photographic, video, digital, electronic, or audio media.
Last updated on February 18, 2020
Manual: Behavioral Health
Chapter: Rights and Responsibilities of the Individual RI

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