5 tips to follow when taking client photos in your allied health practice

Have you ever taken client photos as a record of their progress for their file, or taken a photo of them for marketing purposes…? Maybe for social media or perhaps for a presentation you have coming up? If you have taken any clients photos in the past, or are planning to, we have put together these simple tips for ensuring you are doing this the right way.

Tip 1: Clinical images are considered to be part of your client’s health information and therefore need to be treated with the same level of privacy as other information in their file. This means that before you take a photo, the client needs to be made aware of what the photo will be used for, and consent for the photo needs to be obtained.

Tip 2: If you are using the image for marketing purposes, think about whether the image needs to have the clients face in the shot or not – can you get the same message across without needing to show their face.  This allows you to help maintain the privacy of your client.   If a client does not want to their face shown, that is ok, and make sure then that there are no other identifying aspects that would make them known to others – such as a specific tattoo or birthmark they may have. 

Tip 3: Because clinical images are treated with the same privacy as other information, you need to ensure that you are using the image for the purpose you collected it for, and not for other secondary reasons. For example, if you took a photo of a client’s wound that you were concerned about, or the movement in their shoulder for the purposes of communicating this to their doctor, then it is not appropriate to use that same image for a presentation or in-service you might be doing later unless the client has given you consent for that.

Tip 4: If you are using a phone to take your images, be sure to upload them to the client's file that day, or the next day, and then delete the original from your phone. Some smartphones automatically ‘back up’ images to the cloud, so be sure that this does not occur for photos of your clients. Ensure your phone has a code to access the phone to protect any photos if your phone is lost.

Tip 5: This is something I always do in my practice, and that is to show the client the photo I have just taken to make sure they are happy with it and they know what it looks like. I think it is common courtesy, especially if you are using it ongoing in your practice for marketing or any presentations you might be doing.

Having a policy in place to manage clinical photos is ideal for any practice.  If you need help with writing a policy, we’ve done the legwork for you.  In our membership, we have forms and templates that can help you manage the privacy of your clients, and in particular, we have templates for image consent forms and for privacy policies.  To be part of our membership please be sure to join our waitlist so you are the first to know when our membership opens.  Click here to join:

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