Tele-Photography Policy

1. Photographs may be a useful component of patient assessment in an era of remote consultations. They are not to be considered a substitute for face-to-face examination should that need arise.

2. They should be considered a component of clinical assessment. For this reason photographs should only be requested by a clinician as part of patient assessment. Therefore, they are not to be requested by receptionist or other nonclinical members of staff.

3. The preferred method of communication of an image from the patient to the practice is via text message. This is because, if appropriate, the image can be uploaded to the patient’s medical records directly.

4. Images submitted by patients may be added to their medical record if considered appropriate to do so by the responsible clinician. Patient will have the option to decline this should they so wish.

5. Images, as with any patient identifiable data, are subject to the usual strict rules on confidentiality. Just like any part of the patient’s medical records, therefore, they should not be viewed by anybody without justification.

6. In some instances, these pictures might be used for onward referral, for example to dermatology. There are some dermatology guidelines which can be shared with individual patients in order to ensure high quality referrals.

7. It is recognised that for some patients it might be technically difficult to submit photographs. Some patients may also feel uncomfortable with this process. If for whatever reason a patient does not wish to submit a photograph to aid with a remote consultation, then a face-to-face consultation may be offered.

8. We will treat all patients with dignity and respect at all times. We would ask that carers of patients who are considering submitting photographs as part of a remote consultation would take similar steps. We will follow closely the guidance contained in the forthcoming NHS document regarding photographs of intimate body areas: link tbc.

9. We would ask also that patients consider carefully the content of any photographic images that they submit to the practice. In particular, they must ensure that such images are appropriate to the condition under review. They must ensure that such images do not contain any sexually explicit or indecent content.