When a Patient Secretly Records You

Should you be concerned if a patient records your conversation during a patient visit?

Risk Management

When a Patient Secretly Records You

Question: I suspect a patient used his cell phone to record our conversation during a recent patient visit. Should I be concerned?

Answer: Today, smartphones make hidden cameras unnecessary. Patients can use these devices to record conversations, examinations and staff without your knowledge or consent.

It is estimated that more than 50 percent of Americans own a smartphone and 83 percent of young adults have one.* With the imperceptible touch of a button, what you thought was a private conversation and/or examination between you and the patient can become a video or recording that could be used against you.

In addition to the ethical implications of recording or videotaping without the other party’s knowledge, these recordings present another risk. Unauthorized video/audio recording is a violation of trust. Once this trust is fractured, it is almost never fully repaired.

While recording or videotaping has not yet become a major issue in chiropractic cases, it almost certainly will become a factor in more cases in the future. The advance of technology, the breakdown of ethical boundaries,the ease of devices and the relaxed level of respect for authority make this an extreme likelihood.

For these reasons, it is a good idea to check your state statutes to determine if one-sided recordings by patients are permitted in your state. If so, you may wish to implement a “check your cell phone” policy, but consult with your practice attorney before taking this step.

Of course, you as the practitioner, should not record others without their awareness and permission as an ethical—and possibly a legal—matter.

In the event that you suspect an unauthorized recording by a patient, contact an NCMIC claims professional at 800-242-4052.

Welcome to the world of smart devices.

* Pew Research Center. Mobile technology fact sheet. http://www.pewinternet.org/fact-sheets/mobile-technology-fact-sheet

The information in the NCMIC Learning Center is offered solely for general information and educational purposes. It is not offered as, nor does it represent, legal or professional advice. Neither does this information constitute a guideline, practice parameter or standard of care. You should not act or rely upon this information without seeking the advice of an attorney familiar with the specific legal requirements of the state(s) in which you practice. If there is a discrepancy between the site and an insurance policy you have with NCMIC, the policy will prevail.