Image Consent

Adrian Richards, Medical Director of Cosmetic Courses, shares his advice on the importance of obtaining consent from patients when using images of them, and what it should include.

Images such as before and after photos are a great source of marketing for your clinic. They offer a fantastic opportunity to showcase your work and create a buzz around the treatments you offer.

We have also found that videoing and photographing treatments as they are taking place has been beneficial to our patients. It allows them an in depth look into what to expect when they come to see us for their own treatment.

Copy of The Importance of Image Consent cosmetic courses

Why is consent so important?

By talking to your patient and explaining that you would like to use the images taken of them for marketing purposes, this demonstrates full transparency with them. We recommend you also have them sign documentation showing that they have understood what you have explained and are happy for the images to be used.

Obtaining this consent grants the image rights to yourself, and means that even other practitioners are not allowed to use them.

Most importantly, it acts as evidence that your patient is happy for the images to be used by yourselves and, should they ever change their minds about your rights to the images, this can be dealt with at your discretion.

How do I get consent?

We like to talk to our patients about how we will use the images, by being honest and open about our intended purposes for the images.

Once we have discussed the usage and they have verbally agreed, we then produce a consent form, this can be paper or an online form if you are using a paperless system. It is important you file the consent within the patient’s paperwork so you can refer back to it if ever you may need to.

What should I include in my consent?

You should ensure that the consent form details what you wish to do with the photographs, as well as what you hope showing them will achieve for your practice. For example, “we wish to use your before and afters on our social media platforms to showcase treatment results for potential patients.” We also recommend listing the social media channels and website you are planning to use them on.

We do not want to overwhelm the patient with endless paperwork and consent, so its best to keep it brief and to the point.

At the end of your usage terms the patient will need to sign and date their name stating that they are giving consent for the images; we then leave a box for our practitioner to sign which tells us they have explained to the patient why and where we are using their images.

By keeping your consent clear and simple it makes it easier for the patient to understand. We also find that by speaking to the patient it can make them feel valued, especially if you are telling them you think their results are so good that you want to showcase them!

The most important thing to remember about consent is, get a signature and a date. With this approach, you will have protected yourself from any future issues, should they arise.

About the author

Mr Adrian Richards is Medical Director of Cosmetic Courses and is one of the UK’s most experienced Consultant Plastic Surgeons in both surgical and non-surgical treatments. He trained in Oxford and London as a Consultant Plastic & Cosmetic Surgeon, with further specialist training in Australia and America. He has worked at the Regional Plastic Surgery Centre in Stoke Mandeville, Aylesbury and now concentrates exclusively on Cosmetic Surgery and training.