Smartphone Camera Use in the Hospital Policy

Smartphone Camera Use in the Hospital Policy

A. Intended people

 The policy is intended for different customers including patients, health care professionals and the public. The advances in mobile technology have improved use of mobile phones.  People use mobile phones for different purposes.  People use their smart phones to take the patients’ pictures in the hospital. Patient confidentiality and privacy has become a main problem in many hospitals due to mobile technology. Health care professionals, relatives and the general public have violated the privacy and confidentiality of patients.  The policy is intended for health care professionals as they infringe the patient’s privacy and confidentiality. This in turn, affects the image of the nursing profession and the organizational image. Nurses have been accused of infringing patient’s privacy and confidentiality by taking pictures of the patient and positing them on the social media.

The 2010 NCSB study of boards of nursing showed that most of the boards received cases of where nurses violated the privacy of patients.  The nurses posted the patient information on the social media. This forced the board of nursing to suspend the license of nurses and place conditions on their licenses. Additionally, the policy is intended for the patient’s as it will improve their privacy and confidentiality. The policy is intended for the general public including relatives and visitors as the public violates the privacy and confidentiality of patients by taking pictures. Visitors and relatives breach the privacy of the patient by not focusing on their patient. They take pictures of other patients when taking pictures of their patients. Visitors and relatives should limit their focus on their patient in order to protect the privacy rights of other patients. Most visitors and relatives have no knowledge on effect of taking patient pictures on patient privacy during hospital visits (Guerin, 2011).

B. Customer needs

Customer needs can be determined by understanding their role in patient health and implementation of privacy and confidentiality policies. Understanding the role of stakeholders and their interests provides sufficient information regarding their needs.  The customers covered by the policy have a wide range of needs.  The customers have privacy and confidentiality needs.   The privacy and confidentiality of the patient should be protected when providing care. Health care professionals should not take patients’ photographs when providing care without the patient knowledge or consent.

Also, they should not share the photographs with third parties without the authority of the patient.   Additionally, health care providers need to protect the nursing profession image, their image and the image of the health care facility. Taking pictures using smart phones and sharing them with others without the authorization of the patent has a negative effect. It affects the image of the nursing profession and trust patients have on health care professionals. It also leads to suspension or expulsion of health care professionals. In addition to that, it results to nursing licenses being provoked. Moreover, taking pictures affects relatives and the public. The photographs can cause harm to the relatives by affecting their privacy and confidentiality. This happens when the photographs are used negatively. Hence, relatives need to protect their image by promoting privacy and confidentiality (Guerin, 2011).

C. How the policy response to customer needs

The policy responds to the needs of customers by encouraging privacy and confidentiality. The needs of the customers can only be met by ensuring all stakeholders adhere to the principle of confidentiality and privacy. The patients, health care professionals and any other visitors to the health care facility should promote privacy and confidentiality. The principles can be promoted by not taking pictures of patients using smart phones. Health care professionals, relatives and any other visitor should not take photographs of the patient without getting permission from them and the health care facility. This will ensure the patient’s privacy and confidentiality are protected.  Also, it will protect the image of the nursing profession, nurses and facility. Lastly, it will protect the image of the relatives by protecting their patient confidentiality and privacy. Therefore, all external and internal customers should adhere to the policy (Guerin, 2011).

D. Procedures and processes to produce results to meet customer needs

Having appropriate procedures and processes produces results and meets customer needs.  The health care professionals, patients, relatives and other visitors to the institution should be aware of the behaviors. They should be conversant with the unprofessional behaviors and take appropriate actions to stop them.  First, the reporting procedure will promote privacy and confidentiality by preventing taking of pictures and satisfy customer needs. Health care professionals, patients, relatives among others should report any breach of privacy and confidentiality to the management. Health care professionals including nurses have an ethical duty to take the right actions concerning instances that depict incompetence, unethical and illegal practices.

They should inform their coworkers about any questionable behavior or action that threaten the patient’s safety and healthy like taking photographs using smart phones. Also, the professionals can report the incident to internal and external authorities if it affects a patient health, privacy and confidentiality. They should follow up the action after reporting. Second, professionals should monitor their image regularly using online sources and other sources to ensure no information posted affects their image. They should report any incidences or information that causes harm to their image, nursing profession image and patient’s image (Guerin, 2011).

Third, visitors and relatives should follow the right procedure when taking a patient’s photographs using smart phones.  Visitors should ask for permission from the facility management and patients before taking any pictures. Visitors and relatives should limit their photographs to their target patient to avoid breaching other patients’ privacy.  Visitors and relatives should not take pictures of patients with interesting diseases or celebrities in the hospital.  Fourth, monitoring taking of pictures in the hospital will ensure visitors; relatives and professionals do not take pictures without permission. It will prevent misuse of smart phones in hospitals. Visitors, professionals and relatives, can use smart phones for all other activities including calling and texting, but not taking pictures.

Patient pictures should only be taken with permission. Fifth, informing visitors, relatives, patients and professionals about policy governing taking of pictures using smart phones can help in protecting patient privacy.  Visitors, relatives, patients and professionals should be provided with information on Smartphone policy when getting registration forms. Also, information about Smartphone policy should be posted in public places, in the facility. Professionals should agree to conform to Smartphone camera use as part of the employment condition.  Information about Smartphone camera use and taking patient pictures should be included in their employment contract or document (Guerin, 2011).

All employees play a crucial role in implementing the policy.  All employees including nurses and physicians should encourage ethical behaviors so as to promote patient privacy and confidentiality. The employees should understand the smart phone camera use policy and content. They should also read all the procedures and have them explained if in distrust. This will ensure effective implementation of the policy as every employee will be involved in the implementation process.  The director is accountable and responsible for compliance with the HIPPA and other laws that promote patient privacy and confidentiality.  Managers in different hospital departments should ensure the policy is followed.

They should ensure effective implementation of the policy when providing care to patients or visiting patients. The management should ensure the customers comply with the policy requirement. Training of professionals, patients, relatives and other visitors on the use of smart phone camera policy to help in the implementation of the policy. It equips the stakeholders with sufficient information to make ethical choices when using smart phones in hospitals. It also ensures the stakeholders are devoted to promoting privacy and confidentiality of the patient.  Therefore, the management should ensure the processes and procedures identified above meet the goals established under the operating conditions. This will ensure the managers fulfill the needs of the customers (Kearney-Nunnery, 2008).


Guerin, L. (2011). Smart policies for workplace technologies. Berkeley, California: Nolo
Kearney-Nunnery, R. (2008). Expanding the vision. In J. P. DaCunha, C. Abramowitz, & K.L. Kern (Eds.), Advancing your career: Concepts of professional nursing (pp. 418-429). Philadelphia: F.A. Davis Co.

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