Smile – You’re On Candid Camera – Medical Intake Photo IDs

– L. Arthalia Cravin

If you’ve been to a doctor or dentist lately then you probably already know that part of the patient intake process now includes taking your picture. I recently questioned the folks at the Amarillo College Dental Hygiene Clinic about their new picture- taking procedure. My question to the folks at Amarillo College was on the issue of invasion of privacy over photos of my face and inside my open mouth. Well, the response that I got was a primer on intra-and inter-oral photography as part of current dental practice. Another person had the same picture-taking experience at a regular doctor’s office when the staff told her, “Now, we need to take your picture.”

For years patients have been identified at doctor and dentist offices by an in-person appearance. Doctors and dentists knew patients from the doctor-patient relationship. But, it seems that things are a-changing—so much so that social security numbers, x-rays, your real face, and other forms of patient identifications are no longer sufficient. In the case of a dental office, I especially wondered what a photo of my open mouth could possibly reveal that an x-ray could not. I was so suspicious of the “new photo” ID for patients that I went and read the Patriot Act to see if there was some type of “Big Brother, we’re watching you” activity going on.

I’m still not comfortable with photos being taken at doctor’s offices. But that is the new trend, or, requirement. I don’t even like for the DMV to take my picture, let alone some dental assistant showing up in my face with a camera. When I responded to Amarillo College about the new patient photo ID requirements, I suggested to them that if in fact patients are giving consent to photos by signing the usual consent to treatment forms, that, at a minimum, the new photo ID requirements should be highlighted in bold print. And, I suggested that each office should post large signs letting patients know that their photos will the taken as part of patient identification. And, in the case of dental treatment, that photos, in addition to regular x-rays will be taken inside the patient’s mouth. This seems fair, and would produce informed consent rather than what I call, consent by stealth.

Copyright 2012 – L. Arthalia Cravin. All rights Reserved. No part of this commentary may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without written permission from the author.

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  1. avatar George Washington says:

    See how I referred to you as Ms. Cravin? Thats how sensible people interact with one another. I sincerely hope you’re not really as thin skinned as your reply suggest,and I hope when someone else disagrees with you again and believe someone will,that you don’t attack them with such vicious vitriole as you did me, just because I had a different point of view. Shame on you Ms. Cravin shame!! Oh and by the by if you respond I’ll need you to refer to me as Mr. Washington, only my friends call me George.(Tongue in cheek,cause you provided a good laugh this morning)

  2. avatar George Washington says:

    Really? Ms. Cravin it’s obvious I offended you and that wasn’t my intention. No I had never read your articles,but the one I did read I felt compelled to offer an opinion and maybe a different view. But its blatantly obvious that anyone who disagrees with you or doesn’t see things the way you do you are quick to attack. In your original article there was no mention of voter ID photos or arrest photos. Your article dealt with medical identification. And as far as me being a misogynist,what did I say that sounded misogynistic?(see I got a dictionary too!!)And you actually told me to kiss your rear! Really? And you feel that was warranted.Wait no one has ever disagreed with you thats it, yours is the voice of knowledge and all who diagree are ignorant misogynist. Funny!!

  3. avatar lcravin says:

    George: I’m glad you don’t read my articles since it is apparent that you are quite ignorant of what the article truly implies. Others I know were also been surprised when their pictures were taken for routine medical care. These new photo IDs practices are indeed quite new and I think quite anti-immigrant. If you have never read my columns then you have indeed missed other opportunities to become enlightened yourself. My columns are probably the most socially relevant anywhere on the Internet, and if you were not such a misogynistic bigot then you would understand that. Your insinuations were unwarranted and go beyond this particular column and suggest a generalized lack of understanding of what is “socially relevant. I have written other columns about all the photo-taking going on these days, including mug shot photos of arrested persons who have never been charged with anything–and the new voter photo ID laws. Were those columns socially irrelevant? Your caustic comments strongly suggest that you have some type of axe to grind with me. From my lips to your eyes, go stick you axe up your arse. I prefer that idiots like you not read my columns since you choose to respond with such profound ignorance. Go read a comic book and stay away from this website–it is too advanced for your low IQ.

  4. avatar George Washington says:

    Really? You have a problem with your picture being taken. As a health care professional and with the advent of electronic medical records it is a much more efficient way of identifying a patient without requesting numerus documents.Maintaining your privacy is one thing, paranoia is another and I think that’s what you maybe experiencing,that “somebody is out to get me syndrome” We won’t sell your picture. As for the dental xrays. You’ve never read of people being identified through dental records. I don’t read your articals much.. ok not at all but this one compelled me to let you know that now I know why I never read your columns.This article offers nothing in the way of social relevance other than to make someone who may be reluctant to visit a doctor or dentist office out of fear that they may have a computer chip implanted so Big Brother can monitor their movements.