I read an interesting news item in Medical Observer this week about the increasing number of patients either overtly or covertly recording medical appointments on their smart phones.  Have some of your patients already asked if they could do this?  Mine have and I’m also aware of some patients getting into hot water when asking their ‘old-school’ medical specialists if they could do the same thing. For me, I have always understood the patient’s desire to do this, as the information they’re being given might be complex, considered critical and they may need to hear it several times in order to grasp the details, instructions etc. In other situations I’ve experienced it’s because the patient needs someone else, who couldn’t be present at the appointment, to hear the discussion ‘firsthand’ e.g. another parent, a partner.  In my mind this all makes good sense.  Does it make me speak differently, think more carefully about my words etc…You bet it does! 

Now, while some might perceive this as a potential negative influence on the therapeutic relationship and even a possible source of anxiety for the practitioner who might worry excessively about ‘getting it right’ and how the recording might be used etc., I think primarily this new development gets us to consider our language more deeply and work to become better, clearer communicators so ultimately, it’s a positive.  I am sure, like me, you’ve been told horror stories of what your patients’ doctors, specialists and other naturopaths (!) have said behind closed doors at times, if we’re all subject to greater transparency because of the smartphone, then rather than worry about this from a litigious perspective, perhaps we should be happy to be part of the movement towards greater patient empowerment?  I don’t know…what do you think? :)

If you haven’t read the news item here it is: http://www.medicalobserver.com.au/news/patients-may-be-covertly-recording-consults?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=1303-Friday+NON+S4&utm_content=1303-Friday+NON+S4+CID_c59375105080f7c362fd778c1a6d19e1&utm_source=Email%20marketing%20software&utm_term=Patients%20may%20be%20covertly%20recording%20consults