Well, at least some patients ask first. Others may start recording (audio or video) without asking. How a physician navigates such requests—or discoveries—may have a long lasting impact on the trust that underlies the physician-patient relationship. A recent Washington Post article, Patients press the ‘record’ button, making doctors squirm illustrates how both patients and providers might approach this issue.

In Massachusetts, recording without all parties’ expressed consent is prohibited by law. Such recordings are inadmissible as evidence (e.g., in a malpractice allegation), and are potential grounds for a legal action against the individual who made the recording. That being said, a “heat of the moment” confrontation is unlikely to move the problem to a mutually beneficial solution. Carefully navigating the patient’s reasons for wanting to record his or her interactions with you might reveal underlying issues that you or a colleague need to address in order to retain the patient’s trust. If your polite requests are ignored, look to your legal and risk management services to protect your interests and ensure that the patient’s health care needs continue to be served.

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