Guidance materials issued for using medical recordings

December 6, 2011
Guidance materials issued for using medical recordings

(Medical Xpress) -- New advice and guidance on making and using clinical healthcare recordings for learning and teaching will be launched today. Clinical images, videos and other recordings are vital to good teaching and learning within the health care professions.  Increasingly these are originated outside the institution that wishes to use them.  This raises a number of legal, ethical and other issues relating to their re-use.

The materials have been created by a collaboration of cross-sector organisations and individuals, including the General Medical Council (GMC), Wellcome Trust, Institute for Medical Illustrators, University of Bristol and Newcastle University.  The project has been funded through JISC’s Strategic and Content Alliance and will be hosted by JISC Digital Media.

Clinical recordings are typically taken in NHS settings for treatment but are transferred to higher education settings for the education of healthcare students.

The principles and guidance materials have been developed to encourage shared understanding between practitioners and managers across clinical and educational settings.  The guidance covers issues such as obtaining informed patient consent, clearing copyright and licensing as well as transfer and use of healthcare recordings between organizations.

Dr. Jane Williams, Director of e-Learning in the Centre for Medical Education at the University of Bristol, said: “There is already a wealth of advice and guidance but it is currently overwhelming.  The new advice and guidance attempts to provide an easy navigable route through a very sensitive area of professional practice.”

Debra Hiom, the project’s manager at the Institute for Learning and Research Technology (ILRT) at the University of Bristol, added: “Students and teachers increasingly use pre-existing patient images from the web without adequately considering copyright or how they have been consented.  The new materials will help individuals be clear how resources can or can not be reused.”

Stuart Dempster, Director of the Strategic Content Alliance at JISC, said: “I am delighted to see that the significant advances being made in medical recordings, networks and other technological innovation within the education, research and health are being matched with clarity in the advance and guidance being offered to clinical and non-clinical staff alike through this project.  This work builds on from earlier JISC investments in improving the skills required in the digital age.”

The materials aim to help users of clinical healthcare recordings to:

• Understand how to deal with consent issues in using recordings of patients in learning and teaching resources;
• Understand the difference between copyright ownership and licencing and how to use resources shared under licence;
• Demonstrate best practice in ‘digital professionalism’ and manage risks when creating sustainable teaching resources;
• Be better placed to share resources with colleagues.
• The guidance is aimed primarily at students, teachers or doctors who wish to use a patient recording for learning and teaching.  It will also be of interest and use to other clinical and healthcare workers as well as to university staff where patient recordings are being made available for learning and teaching.  

The new advice and materials will be launched at a workshop in London, which will be followed by a free lecture from Sir Donald Irvine on the importance of patient centred medical education.

Explore further: Doctoral student develops ethical guidelines for GPs

More information: The lecture will take place tonight [Monday 5 December] at 6 pm at the Wellcome Trust, Gibbs Building, 215 Euston Road, London.

A podcast of Debra Hiom explaining the issues that professionals face when using recordings and how the new guidance can help is available at

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