8 findings on how clinicians, patients feel about having clinical visits recorded

In the first U.S. study to measure the prevalence of audio or visual recordings of clinical visits, researchers at the Dartmouth Institute in Lebanon, N.H., found none of the 49 health systems they surveyed has a policy for physician or patient sharing of these records.

And only two of the health systems said they had a policy that would cover patient requests for such recordings.

To assess patient attitudes toward recording, the research team surveyed more than 500 adults from 48 states.

The researchers included clinicians from eight specialties: emergency medicine, general/family medicine, internal medicine, general surgery, OB-GYN, orthopedic surgery, physical rehabilitation and psychiatry. 

Four findings on clinician attitudes:

1. Twenty-eight percent of clinicians reported recording a clinical visit for a patient's personal use.

2. Among clinicians who had not recorded a clinical visit for a patient's personal use, half were willing to do so, and half were not.

3. The analysis found only clinical specialty (as opposed to gender or length of time in practice) was linked to recording a visit.

4. Clinicians in oncology and physical rehabilitation were more likely to have recorded a visit, and clinicians in general/family practice were least likely to have recorded a visit.

Four findings on public attitudes:

1. The survey found 16 percent of respondents reported recording a clinic visit with permission. Only 3 percent recorded a visit without permission, and 82 percent had never recorded a clinic visit.

2. More than half (59 percent) of respondents said they would consider recording with a physician's permission, and only 7 percent said they would consider recording without a physician's permission.

3. Patients who said they recorded a visit with physician permission were more likely to be male, younger and speak a language other than English at home.

5. Although most (63 percent) patients said they were interested in recording a visit, only 10 percent of respondents said their clinic offered clinical visit recordings for personal use.

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