Social media and the use of technology in EMS

Patients have a right to dignity, privacy and confidentiality. This is enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa and must always be respected.

Emergency Care Providers are reminded that the taking of photographs and/or recording of video and/or audio footage and/or subsequent dissemination (either via personal communication or social media) of incidents and clinical interactions between Emergency Care Providers and patients has implications regarding the right to patient practitioner privacy and confidentiality. Whilst the taking of photos and the recording (audio or video) of incidents and patient care may have a role to play in clinical governance, teaching, learning and research, all such activities need to be part of a documented project that is ethically approved with informed patient consent.

Ethical approval for such activities shall come from a registered Ethics Committee. This is to ensure that the production, access to, distribution and storage of audio/visual materials is professionally and properly managed.

Audio/visual recording of the mobilisation and response to an incident may be recorded provided that neither patient nor clinical interaction is captured, recorded or distributed.