Secret patient recordings: Patient-doc relationships suffer

Doc and patient

Skeptical Scalpel, M.D. would “break up” with his patient if he discovered that patient was secretly recording their conversations, he writes in a recent blog post.

That’s because a patient would only want to record such conversations if the relationship had already suffered a rupture, he writes.

This is in contrast with a recent commentary published in JAMA Viewpoint, where three Texas-based doctors discussed ways to handle patients secretly recording conversations with their physicians--a practice they view as “very benign,” writes Skeptical Scalpel, M.D. The journal article co-authors largely discussed ways to verbally agree to the recording and how best to use such recordings. They also noted the need to inform patients of the need to preserve the rights of other patients who may be inadvertently recorded.

If Skeptical Scalpel, M.D.’s patient asked openly about recording their conversations, the anonymous surgeon would agree--but says that he would need to retain his own complete recording of the conversation.

He contrasts the doctor-patient relationship with the relationship between police and citizens. The key difference is there’s a need to protect both members of police forces and members of the public. But introducing recording devices to capture physician-patient conversations sets up an adversarial dynamic that serves neither the doctor nor the patient, he writes.

- read the blog post
- check out the commentary