Increasing safety in Healthcare

A Body worn camera is a device that you would normally associate with police officers but could the device have uses in other professions as well? A doctor in the United States thinks so. There is an argument for supplying frontline healthcare workers with the cameras. How does this affect the privacy of patients?

Studies have already shown that when police officers wear the camera, both their behavior and that of the public becomes much more civilized. It seems that sometimes it takes surveillance to make us behave ourselves. While most doctor-patient meetings end well and perfectly cordially, there are plenty of times in hospitals where frontline staff face potentially threatening situations. Could a camera help diffuse these situations before they get out of hand?

Other possible benefits of doctors using what they would like to call ‘med-cams’ is it could reduce the possibility of a malpractice claim. In high risk areas such as neurosurgery, obstetrics, psychiatry and pediatrics, there can be many malpractice claims. As most of these claims relate to missed diagnosis or errors during surgery, could med-cams help capture evidence to prove or disprove these allegations?

Some claims are made months or even years after the event took place, with only statements and medical records to go by. A med cam could show what was actually discussed or how a surgery actually took place so that testimony from either side would not have to be relied on. Where no evidence of error was found, cases could be dropped quickly and where malpractice was deemed to have occurred, cases could be settled far quicker.

When faced with violence in a clinic or hospital ward, the camera could help as it has done with the police. In the United States, nearly half of all physicians have been assaulted and the figure is probably very similar in the UK. Accident and Emergency are verbally and physically abused so often that it can be seen as just a part of the job but it doesn’t have to be like this. Everybody has the right to be safe while they are working and the use of a body worn camera would act as a deterrent as the offender realises it’s all being recorded. For more information, visit

Would it really make such a difference to our privacy as CCTV has been in use in many areas of hospitals for a number of years now without the public having a problem with it. When surveyed, most patients supported the idea as they understood the safety benefits for both staff and patients alike. There would need to be some careful thought given to the privacy of personal and intimate examinations and there may be reasons why patients would object to being filmed. Thought would need to be given to those who find it difficult enough to see a doctor in the first place, for religious reasons or victims of domestic violence. Preventing the marginalisation of any group of patients would need to be of utmost importance.

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