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E66: Why I Don't Share Patient Photos Online: A House-Call Dentist's Perspective



In this week's episode, we tackle a common question that dentists ask me in emails or on social media: “Why don't I share more patient photos online”? This query arises from the trend of using patient photos to attract social media followers, who could potentially become new patients. However, posting identifiable patient photos without explicit permission is a violation of HIPAA laws. While it might be easier to share radiographs or clinical photos, sharing a patient’s face requires informed consent, which isn’t just a matter of getting a signature but involves a detailed conversation about privacy.


As a dental practitioner who makes house calls, the dynamics of seeking consent are even more nuanced. Many of my patients are dealing with complex medical conditions and prefer not to draw attention to their personal spaces. Early in my practice, I learned that presenting a media consent form could make patients feel uncomfortable. As a result, I no longer initiate these conversations to avoid triggering negative feelings. While I believe there may be patients willing to give permission for photos, maintaining a strong, trusting rapport with them takes precedence over social media content.


On a practical level, social media is not a significant referral source for my practice, and we remain busy without posting patient photos. While patient photos can be enticing for outsiders, many of my patients don't even use the internet. Instead, I focus on creating more meaningful content through podcasts and blogs, which help other dentists learn about this career option and enhance their practices. All this being said I still love it when listeners connect with me on Instagram or email me. In addition, listeners can visit the blog version of today's episode and past episodes if they prefer to read the content. Your feedback on how you prefer to learn online is always welcome, as it helps me to better serve you and the future of house-call dentistry.



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Produced by: Social Chameleon

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