A video camera set up to record.

What to Do When a Patient Wants to Record

Patients may have perfectly plausible reasons for recording their appointment—but you also have a right to establish a video policy in your practice.

If a patient pulls out their phone and wants to take video of their appointment or instructions from you, don't panic—patients often have good reasons for wanting to preserve the moment. A common reason is simply to remember what you said: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 50% of patients leave the doctor feeling unsure or confused about the instructions or directions they received. 

Another reason may be that they need to relay information to a family member or caregiver, and they want to ensure they share clinical information correctly.

Once you figure out why they want to record, you may be able to find a more appropriate way to get the patient what they need while also respecting the privacy of other patients, staff, and the practice.

Recordings can help improve patient adherence, engagement, and outcomes. To manage office visit recordings, consider these strategies:

  • Assume that everything you say is being recorded. Be very mindful of what you're saying and how you're saying it.
  • Suggest a partial recording. Instead of allowing them to record the whole appointment, suggest that it may be more beneficial to record your summary of instructions and directions at the end of the visit instead.
  • Provide other tools. Offer paper and pen to take notes, or suggest that they take notes in the notes app on their phone. 
  • Ask them to summarize. If you know you're being recorded, ask the patient to repeat back instructions and directions at the end. Be sure to correct any misunderstandings while on camera. This will improve compliance and help protect you from potential issues.

Whatever their reasons may be for wanting to record, at the end of the day, it's your choice. You have every right to establish a policy for your practice if you're not comfortable with it. 

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