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Digital Photography Protocol


  1. Digital photography is a reasonable and acceptable option for photo documentation
  2. Digital photos are part of the permanent medical record.
  3. Photos may be released to law enforcement personnel with properly signed releases. The release of records including photographs will follow all HIPAA compliance policies.
  4. For minors, mandatory reporting includes sharing medical information with appropriate agencies: this proviso allows release of photos of minors to proper agencies (DSS, law enforcement) when a crime may have occurred, even without release from the parent or guardian.


  1. Sign-out key for digital camera lock-box at security station in Emergency Room. (you will need a MUSC ID or driver's license and need to be on the list of approved examiners)
  2. Document examiner's name, date, patient name, MR# in photo log (in lock box).
  3. Use a blank memory card for each patient.
  4. Make sure that the date on the camera is set to display the correct date
  5. First and last photo should be of the patient stamp plate. Write your name, location, and date on the stamp plate.
  6. Second photo is of the patient's face for identification.
  7. Do not delete photos on the media while taking photos or later
  8. Maintain automatic series number of images.
  9. Use camera in Auto mode. For close distances (1-100cm), set camera to Super Macro. Use tripod for better image quality
  10. Body photos
    1. Photograph each injury at 90 degree angle to the plane of the wound
    2. Photograph each injury 3 times
      1. Distant shot at 2 or more feet
      2. Close up
      3. Close up with measuring device (measuring tape or coin)
  11. Genital-anal photos
    1. Take multiple photos of area
      1. Without separation
      2. With separation
      3. With traction
      4. Perineum and anus
  12. After completion of the exam, place the memory card from the camera in a designated envelope, seal it and sign the examiner's name across the seal. Place a patient label on the front of the envelope and write the date of the exam. Place the envelope in the lock-box.
  13. Return key to security

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