Recording Devices in the Emergency Department
Revised January 2017
Originally approved April 2011
ACEP believes that the unauthorized use of recording devices, including cell phone cameras, in the emergency department for the purpose of capturing, recording, or transmitting photographic, video, or audio media poses significant risks to the privacy and confidentiality of patients and staff. The use of always-on “bodycam” style devices has become more common, especially among law enforcement. Use of these types of devices poses additional risks and their use should be minimized.
Specifically ACEP believes that:
- The unauthorized use of recording devices, including by law enforcement, should be regulated and restricted in areas of patient care or where there are reasonable expectations of privacy and confidentiality.
- Medical personnel should not use recording devices in an always-on “bodycam” manner as such use undermines the assurance of trust between the physician, other medical personnel, and the patient.
- Obtaining retrospective consent for use of recording devices in the emergency department (after they have already been used) is insufficient to ethically justify invading patient privacy by using them without prior consent.
- Physicians and other personnel in the emergency department should only be recorded with their consent.
- Emergency departments and facilities should adopt policies regulating the use of recording devices and to provide HIPAA-compliant security for any hospital or healthcare worker produced recordings.