Physicians are being advised by their insurer that patients could record them using smartphones — with or without permission.
The Canadian Medical Protective Association, which among other legal services, insures doctors against malpractice, recommends physicians consider setting recording policies for their clinics.
Dr. Douglas Bell, managing director of the CMPA, said some doctors aren’t sure what to say when patients want to record either audio or video of them.
“We’re starting to receive more and more calls about recordings by patients,” he said.
Under Canadian law, consent isn’t required to record another person. But it gets complicated if that material is posted online. For example, YouTube will consider removing a video if a person feels it violates their privacy. But only if the individual in the video is, what the company calls “uniquely identifiable,” which may be a matter of opinion.
Also, physicians are obligated to protect the privacy of all their patients, so recording in a waiting room where there are other patients is a problem.
Patient recordings may be helpful
Bell acknowledged most doctors would feel “uncomfortable” being taped by their patients, but suggested it shouldn’t be dismissed outright.
“If you have a patient coming in and it’s a significant diagnosis, say cancer, basically they’re not really hearing anything you say after the ‘cancer’ word. So if they actually have a recording of your advice, that’s actually helpful to the patient,” he said.
With the continued demand for smartphone health apps that let us do everything from store prescription info, keep our medical charts, to consult an actual physician, it’s no surprise some patients want a smartphone record of a visit with their doctor.
The CMPA suggests if a doctor agrees to be recorded by a patient, that they get a copy of the audio or video for the patient file.
Bell said the liability risk for doctors in Canada is “small,” unless they’re providing…