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Mobile devices could pose a security risk in the dental practice

If you’re reading this blog, we hope it’s not a phone on which clinical photos are stored!

The Dental Defence Union (DDU) in London has urged dentists not to take and store clinical photographs on mobile devices like smart phones and tablets despite their convenience.

In view of the NHS cyber-attacks earlier in the year, the organisation have also advised practices to have an information security policy in place on all their computers, as well as someone to oversee their data protection.

While the taking of clinical photographs can be useful for treatment planning and protecting oneself from patient complaints, storing them on a mobile device could be a breach of the Data Protection Act, even if the data is eventually transferred to the patient record system and deleted from the personal device.

Instead, it’s recommended to use a dedicated clinical camera that can be securely and safely stored away, and to always seek written consent to the use of the photographs from patients to avoid any potential legal consequences.

A breach of the Data Protection Act 1998 could lead to fines from either the General Dental Council or the employer.