Is It Legal to Record Your Visit with the Doctor?

Is It Legal to Record Your Visit with the Doctor?

Journal of the American Medical Association with an updated article from the BMJ

Overview

In the article titled, "Can Patients Make Recordings of Medical Encounters?" from the JAMA Network authors Elwyn, Barr, and Castaldo discuss some of the broader legalities of making a recording while visiting your doctor.

Making a recording that you can add to your personal health record can be a great way of maintaining documentation and accountability for your care, as well as assist you and your family in remembering instructions given to you by your care provider.

Understanding the legalities can help ensure this is a positive experience for both you and your doctor and will allow you to make recordings that are admissible in court if needed.

Quote from the JAMA Network article:

"For many clinicians, it is possible that some of their patients are recording their office visit, with or without permission. In a cross-sectional survey administered to the general public in the United Kingdom, 19 of 128 respondents (15%) indicated that they had secretly recorded a clinic visit, and 14 of 128 respondents (11%) were aware of someone covertly recording a clinic visit.1 Because every smartphone can record conversations, this may become even more commonplace. The motivation is often reasonable: patients want a recording to listen to again, improve their recall and understanding of medical information, and share the information with family members.2 A review identified 33 studies (including 18 randomized trials) of patient use of audio-recorded clinic-visit information. Audio recordings were highly valued; across the studies, 72% of patients listened to their recordings, 68% shared them with a caregiver, and individuals receiving recordings reported greater understanding and recall of medical information.3

In the few health care organizations in the United States that offer patients recordings of office visits, clinicians and patients report benefits. In addition, liability insurers maintain that the presence of a recording can protect clinicians. For example, at the Barrow Neurological Institute, in Phoenix, Arizona, where patients are routinely offered video recordings of their visits, clinicians who participate in these recordings receive a 10% reduction in the cost of their medical defense and $1 million extra liability coverage (P.J.B., unpublished data, 2017).

However, many clinicians and clinics have concerns about the ownership of recordings and the potential for these to be used as a basis for legal claims or complaints.4 Administrators and patients are unclear about the law and are concerned that recording clinical encounters might be illegal, especially if done covertly.

The law is inconsistent: recording is allowed in certain situations and is illegal in others. The goal of this Viewpoint is to help clinicians, administrators, and patients understand the law in relation to the recording of clinical encounters and guide reactions to this new phenomenon."

Click the link below to visit the original article on the JAMA Network...

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