Over the past year a new fad has developed: doctors recording Snapchats live during surgeries! For those who are not aware of Snapchat, it’s a social media platform where the user can take a picture or record a film up to 15 seconds in length and post them on their account for 24 hours.
Only those following the user can view their work and see the surgery only for 24 hours. They do have the opportunity to take a screenshot, which can be posted on the web. In order to come up with a verdict for this, it is important to look at the legality of the situation along with reaction viewers have at home.
Is it Legal?
The first concern which many doctors have about any patient information is whether it will affect the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). HIPPA is responsible for making sure all medical records and client transactions are kept confidential and private. Doctors such as Dr. Salzhauer, one of the most famous doctors on Snapchat, says “We always ask permission, not all my patients sign up to be snapped.” This shows that as long as consent release forms are signed by the patient, only their surgeries will be photographed or video-taped. Along with that there is a second consent form about an identity connection between the two. Therefore, it is possible for a client to be taped, but their identity not released.
Although there have been a spectrum of reviews, overall recorded surgeries have had a great response. Many viewers love to see surgeries up close who would like to one day perform surgeries as doctors.
Another great response to this are doctors learning from one another. Doctors can watch one another’s stories and Twitter feeds, if available, to chime in on hints and tips for doctors to develop and continue to learn. The greatest response doctors have seen is that they have people watching from countries such as India, Greece and Kenya. This shows how doctors from all over the world and viewers can be inspired to become surgeons of all types. Lastly, those who do not like to watch the surgeries can easily avoid them. In order to view “surgery Snapchats”, you must add the account and hold the video while watching it. These two steps show that those who are not interested in watching the surgeries would be nowhere near these surgeries on their phones. It simply takes too much effort to find and view them.
Based on the legality of the situation and the reaction, snapchatting surgeries is legal and a great teaching tool for those who want to study surgeries along with those inspired to go to medical school!
There are many forms of social media and although many people who fear that this can be an invasion of privacy must remember that HIPAA has taken serious steps to ensure that only patients who have willingly given their permission are allowed to be recorded. How has that played out? Dr Salzhauer is booked for the next 20 months! This shows that viewers want more and patients are giving consent!