Medical photography

Medical photography is the production of images that truthfully record injuries and diseases, as well as documenting the progress of operations and medical procedures.

SunilThis work can be both technically and emotionally engaging with images used for measurement and analysis,as well as to accompany medical or scientific reports, articles or research papers. Medical photographers record the work of healthcare professionals in hospitals and clinics, as well as producing detailed images of patients' injuries and diseases for use in treatment and education. Their work requires a dedication and care that is not always necessary in other less objective - and less sensitive - areas of photography.

Medical photographers also specialise in the more technical forms of photography, such as ophthalmic, surgical or pathological photography. They also provide a still-born photography service for bereaved families. Our medical photographers provide this service with compassion and dignity for the families.

Medical photographers also take non-clinical photographs of people and facilities for more general use, as well as medico-legal photographs for ACC reports, industrial accidents or insurance claims.

Why have we asked to take a photograph of you?

Photographs are a good way of showing a medical condition and making a permanent record for your clinical notes before, during or after treatment.

They give clinical staff the ability to make progressive assessments of your treatment progress. Many photographs help teach doctors, nurses and other medical professionals.

Sometimes, with your permission, a medical book or journal will publish your images.

Who wants the photographs?

MarkThe health professional who requests the photographs will explain why the request is necessary and will ask you to sign a consent form to show that you agree to have medical photographers take and use the photographs.

More about consent

Waikato District Health Board has a strict policy on clinical photography, to ensure that we have your agreement before we take any photographs of you and that the use of them is as you have agreed.

There are three levels of consent:

  1. Clinical record only means that the photographs will go in your clinical records and only clinical staff involved with your treatment or clinical assessment can use them.
  2. Educational means that the use of your photographs is for teaching trainee doctors and other clinical staff.
  3. Publication/promotional/research consent-your doctor might also ask you whether we can use the photographs for another
    'specified purpose'. This might be for publication in a book or medical journal. In this case,you should know the exact publication in which your picture(s) will appear. Often your doctor will not know until some time later that the publication needs a photograph, so in these cases he or she will contact you to ask for your permission.

What will the photographer ask me to do?

In the studio

GusThe photographer will ask for your consent form and double check that you have signed it.You will then go to the studio where the photographer will explain what photographs he/she will be taking of you.The photography session will be private but your family or support people may be present.

The photographer will explain which aspects of your condition we want to photograph and show you how you will need to sit or stand in order to help produce anatomically correct medical records.

Depending on which parts of your body we are photographing,we may ask you to remove jewellery or make-up and some clothing.

We sometimes use mirrors and retractors to see into the mouth and might need to use hair bands of hair grips to keep the hair away from your face.

If you feel uncomfortable at any point, please tell the photographer. Once we take the photographs, you are then free to go and we send the images for your consultant to view.

In the ward or clinic

If you are unable to come to the studio, a photographer will come to you in the ward at an arranged time.

The photographer will check that you have signed the consent form and, as in the studio, may ask you to remove jewellery and clothing.

What if I change my mind later?

IslaIf you want to change the consent you have given at any time, please contact Media and Communications and we will amend your records according to your wishes. You might also wish to discuss the use of your photographs with your health professional.

Who owns the photographs?

Waikato District Health Board owns the copyright to all the photographs taken by medical photographers.It is illegal for any unauthorised person to make copies of your photographs.

Where do the photographs go?

We store photographs taken by medical photographers in the Clinical Image Library on the hospital's secure intranet. Access to the system requires the user to have a username and password and is restricted to medical staff that have a legitimate reason to look at your notes.

Where is the Medical Photography studio at Waikato Hospital?

The Medical Photography Studio is located on level one of the Campbell Johnstone Building, in the link corridor between the Elizabeth Rothwell Building and the Red Corridor.