“Click first, care second” photography

Kara Burns and Suzanne Belton
Med J Aust 2012; 197 (5): . || doi: 10.5694/mja12.10638
Published online: 3 September 2012

Policies to prevent medical photography being performed unethically and unlawfully are critical in the digital age

In the era of easily obtainable, easy-to-use digital cameras, any owner of a camera can be a “medical photographer”. Yet professionalism in obtaining medical photographs is much more than the sum of one’s equipment. Digital cameras, especially the ones in smartphones, give clinicians a high degree of autonomy in taking medical photos. Photos taken by clinicians aid diagnosis and teaching, but no matter how well intentioned, clinicians who take medical photos have practical, legal and ethical issues to negotiate. As the distribution of electronic data through the internet, social media and mobile devices becomes easier, appropriate collection, consent and use of medical imagery is essential.1 Lawful image security, storage and disposal practices, mandated by state and territory information acts and records disposal schedules, are paramount to the safe and ethical use of photographic information.

  • 1 RMIT University, Melbourne, VIC.
  • 2 Menzies School of Health Research, Melbourne, VIC.


Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures.

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