Video: Legal Information About Forensic Photography

December 3, 2021 — SDFI (Secure Digital Forensic Imaging) recently released a video that discusses the legal chain of custody vs. medical break glass as related to forensic medical exams. The video reviews the legal references to read when selecting how your organization chooses to handle, store, and distribute photos that were taken during a medical-forensic exam that could go into a U.S. court of law.

Learn The Differences Between Legal Chain Of Custody-vs-Medical Break Glass Policies from SDFI-TeleMedicine LLC on Vimeo.

Five takeaways from the video:

1. People outside the SART can now have access to the photos before photos go to court.

2. JPEG files are compressed versions of RAW Files. Most electronic health records (EHRs) cannot save RAW Files and they are important as they are the original files if photo authenticity is questioned in court.

3. EHRs further compress the already compressed JPEG image files that is derived from its RAW file, typically while it is being uploaded into an EHR. Lossy double compressed JPEG images are not original.

4. After uploading JPEG files into an EHR, legal Chain of Custody is lost. The medical professional testifying in court cannot testify that they had complete control of the evidence. Your IT team does. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has a list of EHR breaches of unsecured protected health information affecting 500 or more individuals per breach. Over 41 million HIPAA records affected so far in 2021 and over 15 million in 2020. It is not getting better. Click to see a report here

5. The average Retention-Destruction Life Cycle for EMR/EHR is 6-8 years. This means that your organization could destroy the evidence you collected if a case goes to court during the Statutes of Limitations of that case. In any case that involves children, or cases that go federal, the Statutes of Limitations to keep photos could be forever.

Source: SDFI

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