Patient’s webcam sends shockwaves through hospitals

“A nurse’s discovery of a Webcam hooked up by parents in their child’s Boston hospital room has stunned the patient’s doctor, raised a mound of privacy issues and potentially left medical staff looking over their shoulders. The unidentified parents set up the camera so the child’s favorite relative could see what was going on during the long hospital stay.”

“Dr. Deborah Peel of the Patient Privacy Rights Foundation said as long as a patient isn’t recording other patients, she doesn’t see violations of the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA, which protects patient privacy.”

“Many people are very concerned that the quality of care in hospitals has decreased so much. I could understand the family wanting a Webcam to prove what care their family did or didn’t get,” she said.” — Boston Herald

That’s the money quote in this story.

Create all the policies you want… hire good lawyers (like Barb)… but as long as families question the quality of the care their loved ones are getting (rightly or wrongly), they’re going to be taking pictures and video. If you wind up in court, you might prevent it from being introduced as evidence, but you’ll have a hard time keeping it off YouTube.

Who’s privacy is the hospital really trying to protect?

If I was having a broken arm set and wanted Barb to video the procedure, on what grounds should the hospital prevent this? Is it okay if she watches the procedure and then opens up her laptop and blogs what she just saw?

The elephant in the room is the appearance of something to hide on the part of the facility and the staff.

Why wouldn’t you train your staff to: “take care of every patient as though what you are doing is being recorded”?

Because, like it or not, it will be.

One thought on “Patient’s webcam sends shockwaves through hospitals

  1. Professor Steve Mann at MIT would tell us that ubiquitous imaging and distribution in the hands of every citizen is one of the best ways we will be able to continue to have a viable democracy. He contrasts this idea with the concept of Surveillance, or “viewing from above”– with the forementioned idea, which he calls Souvellience, or “viewing from below”.
    The thrust of the idea, as illustrated in the original story here, is that every person in a position of authority doesn’t dare abuse their power for fear that somebody will be capturing it. People get skittish about cameras– but it’s not just the cameras, but whose hands the cameras are in.
    The thing to keep in mind is that people in positions of power and in government are *supposed* to be afraid of us.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *