Wednesday, July 23, 2008

A picture is worth . . .

With the ubiquity of picture-taking cellular phones and digital cameras, patients and visitors to our hospital have a new -- and very effective -- tool with which to report problems in the hospital. Here is an email note I received from one of our regular guests and its accompanying photos.

Here are a couple of photos from the radiology changing area suggesting that upkeep could be more professional. The first is locker instructions that have long since seen better days (as a result of which two other patients I overheard were having trouble making the locks work). The second suggests that when somebody mounted a new mirror on the changing room wall, they forgot to wipe its birthmarks off it. :)

BTW, all three radiology people I dealt with today were great.

Please note that it is a violation of our rules to take photos of any people. Actually, strictly speaking, it is against our rules to take photos at all in public and patient care places, unless someone has permission and is accompanied by an appropriate member of our staff. HIPAA makes us very sensitive to the possibility that someone will inadvertently or intentionally take a photograph of a patient and in so doing violate his or her privacy by distributing the picture publicly or privately. But as these photographs indicate, technology has made it virtually impossible to enforce that kind of rule. We therefore depend on people to be very careful with how they use what is easily available to them. In this case, I have to admit that I kind of like what happened. The photographs made the nature of the problem very clear and enabled me to seamlessly pass along the suggestion to our staff.

(Blogger formatting note: I post these columns on the Firefox internet browser, as the formatting of text and pictures seems to work best there. When you view the same post on certain versions of Internet Explorer, there is often a problem with the display of the text nearby the photograph. Sorry about that. I haven't figured out a solution to that problem. And now that Bill Gates has left Microsoft, I have no personal (hah!) connection there to resolve the issue.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Why is it that hospital adminstrators install "security" cameras to take pictures of everything imaginable including everyone who enters the hospital, and then some, but it is "against our rules to take photos at all in public and patient care place..." ?

Noah Zark