Frequently Asked Questions for Parents and Families
Re: Stolen Camera with Patient Photos
1. What happened at my child’s office?
In order to document patient care and progress, a physician used a personal camera during office visits to take photographs of patients’ moles, rashes and other skin conditions. The camera was later stolen from the physician’s vehicle.
2. How do I know if my child’s photos were on that camera?
Our records indicate that the patients in question were seen in the office by this dermatologist sometime between February 15, 2017 and June 22, 2017. If your child was seen by this dermatologist during this time, and if the dermatologist took a photo, it is likely their photos were on this camera.
3. Was there other personal information on that camera?
As a means to identify each photo, the physician also took a picture of the patient’s chart label, which included the patient’s name, date of birth, date of service, and medical record number. Therefore, we believe that photo(s) on the camera are identified with children’s names and related information.
4. Was there Social Security data on the chart label?
Importantly, the photographs on the camera did not include a Social Security Number or any other sensitive financial information, such as health plan number or insurance card number.
5. Are we at risk for identity theft or fraud?
Because no sensitive financial information was included with the photographs on the stolen camera, we do not believe parents need to take additional steps to protect their child’s identity or to prevent financial fraud using the information available.
You can learn more about identity theft and protection at this website from the Federal Trade Commission: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/features/feature-0014-identity-theft
6. Why am I hearing about this now?
We took the time to compile as complete a list as possible of the patients involved with this issue. As soon as the physician realized the camera was missing, a police report was submitted and Spectrum Health was notified. Unfortunately, to date, the camera has not been recovered.
7. I am upset about this.
We are very disappointed about this incident. Spectrum works diligently every day to protect the privacy of our patients. All of our staff are trained on privacy standards and agree to abide by them.
8. What is Spectrum Health doing about this?
We have worked with the dermatology practice to make sure they are no longer using a personal device to take patient photos. Cameras used to take pictures in the office are not permitted to leave the Spectrum Health office, and pictures must be downloaded to the patient medical record and deleted off the camera or other device immediately. We are working with providers, throughout the health system, to ensure that if collecting and using patient photographs, physicians are doing so in an approved, secure manner.
9. Should I change doctors?
We understand that your choice of a health care provider is an extremely important, personal decision. We are honored to be your provider of choice and partner with you in your health journey. Please contact us at 844.689.2875 should you have additional questions.
10. Did you fire this doctor?
We have policies in place to deal with privacy infractions and they are being followed.
11. What are you doing to keep this from happening again?
We are focused on educating providers and staff on the proper way to obtain and store patient images and are focused on preventing this from happening again.