It’s happened to me a couple of times already. But the question in the title of this post was never asked. Rather I was informed later on that my conversation with a patient or family was recorded without my knowledge. Smart phones have made it all too easy for patients to secretly record conversations with their healthcare providers. Simply hit a button, lay it innocently down by your side in the office or hospital, and patients get an instant video or audio capture of a conversation with their physician. When my medical team and fellow physicians found out about the unauthorized recording of our conversation, the news was met with a combination and anger and disgust.
That reaction, it seems, is typical of what most physicians would feel in the same situation. Why would a physician be upset about a patient secretly recording a conversation with them?
Well, simple, really. Most physicians are in chronic fear that the next person to hear/view that recording will be a malpractice lawyer, dissecting it, consonant by consonant, probing for potentially actionable material. The recording, in the physicians mind, changes the nature of the physician-patient relationship. It makes the patient a potential adversary, it makes the doctor feel as if they are in front of a jury and can not speak frankly, it makes them feel as if they are unworthy of trust. In other words, physicians do not like being recorded because they assume that the person recording them has negative motivations.
But let’s pause for a moment and look at this a different way. . . what if they don’t have negative motivations? Continue reading ““Doctor, can I record this conversation?””