Should doctors encourage patients to record consults?


22 Mar 2016

Yes they should, according to a Sydney based paediatrician who says allowing consultations to be recorded is a “win-win” situation for both doctors and patients.

In a perspective article in the MJA this week Dr Ralph Nanan from Charles Perkins Centre at the University of Sydney and colleague Kimberley Benson from the Nepean Hospital in Sydney said offering patients the opportunity to record their consultations could improve care as well as provide a sense of empowerment.

An added benefit was that the practice could also “derail secret recording that is already occurring, or reduce the likelihood of secret recording”.

However, while there were clear benefits to recording consultations there were risks that needed to be considered such as how the recording was used, where it was stored and how initiating a recording could impact time management.

In the end the decision to allow recordings was a personal one, but if a physician decided to go ahead  it was a good idea to start by offering recordings to long-term patients where a trusting relationship was already established, they advised.

“Overall, given the benefits for patients, we recommend that physicians should encourage patients to record a management summary at the end of a consultation,” they concluded.

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