UCalgary researcher uncovers issues with patient privacy in medical case reports: Study

In a recent study published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, University of Calgary Assistant Professor Dr Zack Marshall highlights important questions about ethics and individual patient privacy when patient photos are published in medical journals. Marshall first discovered issues with patient privacy in 2017 while studying medical case reports, which often contain photos and descriptions of patients’ features, conditions, or complications. In this recent study, Marshall found that 76% of a random sample of case reports containing patient photos had at least one photo accessible via Google Image Search results. Marshall questioned whether patients were aware that identifiable photos and information could be found online, due to a lack of information and awareness about the issue. Marshall wrote that until publishers and corporations change their practices, clinicians should inform patients about the risks and benefits of giving consent for their images to appear in medical journals.

UCalgary | JMIR