Your Patient Requests To Record Their Appointment With You – What Does This Mean For You, As A Health Care Provider?
Often, doctors’ visits are fairly straightforward.
When there are no major concerns or new diagnoses, it can be in and out quickly, and with little fuss.
There are times, however, when visiting the doctor can be overwhelming for patients.
When a patient is receiving a new diagnosis, for instance, it often comes with instructions for how to best manage their condition, dietary restrictions, or exercises they need to perform in order to help them achieve a better outcome.
In cases like this, some patients may request to record their conversations with you, their healthcare provider.
The first time you receive a request like this, it may seem surprising.
With technology such as smartphones, it’s becoming easier and easier for people to make these recordings so it’s best to be prepared for it.
Let’s have a look at the things you need to consider when it comes to patients who ask to record their appointments.
Why Do Patients Want To Record Conversations?
A patient may request to record a conversation for several reasons.
Some of these may include:
- More accurate sharing of health advice and instructions with other family members or caregivers who help them manage their diagnosis
- Allows for better communication between you as a healthcare provider and your patients
- Improved compliance with instructions, as they will refer to the recording
Each of these reasons ultimately has the effect of potentially helping improve compliance with your instructions, and thus improving patient outcomes.
“71% of patients listened to their recordings, while 68% shared them with a caregiver.” – The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy & Clinical Practice
Unfortunately, anytime you are recorded, there is the potential drawback that recordings could be used inappropriately.
Some inappropriate use of recordings by patients may include:
- Recording without the consent of the healthcare provider.
- Recording information (audio, visual) of other persons, including patients, visitors, or other employees.
- Sharing of recording inappropriately on social media.
- Security of the recording may be compromised, which may negatively affect the patients’ and the healthcare providers’ privacy.
- Patient’s recording of the healthcare visit may be used against the healthcare provider in a complaint process.
As you can see, there are both benefits and drawbacks to allowing recording of conversations with patients.
Now we will look at the next steps when you allow recording and when you would prefer to not be recorded.
I’ve Agreed To Be Recorded – Now What?
If your patient has requested to record your session, and you’ve agreed, there are some things which will need to be discussed before moving forward regarding appropriate use of recordings.
The patient usually requests permission to record at the beginning of the encounter.
Discuss and agree to the terms of the recording, for example:
• How the recording will be made
• How a recording will be made available to the patient’s health record
• Identify (name) who will be included in the recording and ensuring that the privacy of other people is not affected
• How follow-up questions will be managed.
Document the Encounter
You, as the healthcare provider, may make the recording, keeping a copy for the health record, and share the recording with the patient. Or, you may make a separate recording at the same time of the patient and add the recording to the patient’s health record.
If you will also make a recording, the patient is required to consent in writing to the recording. Include the patient’s consent in the patient’s health record.
In addition to the clinic notes you may make:
- Securely maintain the audio recording in the patient’s health record or in a digital audio file format securely stored on the computer network.
- In the patient’s health record clinic note, include the link to the computer file with thee recording.
- The healthcare provider will record in the clinic note:
- The conversation was recorded – by whom and who has control of the audio file.
- Consent was obtained (if applicable)
- Summary of the conversation
What If I Don’t Feel Comfortable Being Recorded?
If a patient requests to record your session, you may choose to decline their request.
This may just be because you are working to implement policies and systems surrounding recording, but they aren’t quite in place yet.
If a patient request to record your session, and your decision to decline, you will need to make a note of the request, as well as your grounds for denying it, in the patient’s clinic notes.
If the patient is worried about being able to remember of follow instructions, some alternatives to recording may include:
- Provide the patient with information resources including paper handouts, advice documents, or on-line audio or video advice and information resources.
- Allow the patient to invite a trusted family member, friend, or care provider to accompany the patient during the patient’s health care visit.
Join Practice Management Success Today!
As a healthcare provider, you need to stay on top of changing trends and technologies-–not just those related to your work, but things in the world which can affect how you manage your practice and patients.
Changing technology is a huge part of that world, and the growing use of cell phones to record conversations is just one aspect of that.
Be prepared when patients ask permission to record their visits with you. Grab the procedure and patient request form template that you can use right away! Become a member of the Practice Management Success Membership!
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Canadian Medical Protective Association [Internet]. Ottawa (ON): CMPA 2017 March. Smartphone Recordings By Patients: Be Prepared, It's Happening Retrieved https://www.cmpa-acpm.ca/static-assets/pdf/advice-and-publications/perspective/com_17_perspective_march-e.pdf
The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy & Clinical Practice. “Can patients record doctor's visits? What does the law say?.” ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/07/170710135301.htm (accessed July 23, 2022).