Why Physicians Should Consider Recording Their Patient Visits
Why Physicians Should Consider Recording Their Patient Visits
February 17, 2021 by eMedEvents

Recording your patient appointments is not a new concept, and research has shown that your patients will value and benefit from listening to the recordings. With the development of smartphones, recording has become much easier, and according to a 2019 report posted by Erin Mercer from Op-Med, 21.4% of patients have reported recording their doctor visits. Sometimes it may be done without the second parties’ knowledge, as 2.7% of patient visits, were recorded without a doctor’s consent1.

Most recently, Medcorder, a physician-focused website stated that “companies have been developing recording apps, to increase the ease and convenience for physicians to record their conversations with their patients. The reasoning behind this development, was that there was a general consensus among physician practices that patients may not be fully comprehending the information doctors are giving them at the time of the visit. Being able to listen to a recording of the conversation can help your patient process the information, ask any follow-up questions they may not have thought of at the time of the visit, and share the information with family and caregivers”2.

We at eMedEvents have highlighted the top 4 reasons you should consider recording your patient conversations (with their consent).

Medication Adherence

In a 2016 article published by The American Journal of Medical Sciences, “medication adherence rates are at a terrible 50 percent. The study found that while many physicians assumed high costs were responsible for these low rates, it turned out that the paper cited communication as a critical barrier. If your patient doesn't understand how taking a medication benefits them, they're less likely to take said medication”.

Recording your patient visits gives them a written account of exactly why and how they should take their medicine each day. They can also share these transcriptions with family members and caregivers, prescription adherence can become a group effort, which may further help ensure your patient gets what they need2.

Eases your patient’s stress

One of the most challenging parts of any physician’s job is delivering horrible news. "It's a very, very tense thing. The patient says, I want to get better, but 10 seconds later, it's how do I get better”, says Dr. Durant a family care clinician in Dadeville Alabama. Many physicians also make the mistake of barraging their patients with tons of information, which can range from  what's next, what specialist to see, what to expect, what potential outcomes look like, right after delivering the bad news. Oftentimes, the patient in the moment, feels completely overwhelmed and may not remember everything. According to a report printed by Forbes, 40-80% of healthcare practitioners' medical information is forgotten immediately, and almost half of the information that is remembered is incorrect3. Having patients make life-changing decisions under stress, can have deadly consequences, which is why it is important to have a safety net of having all the information recorded, which helps patients feel like they are in charge of the moment.

Collaborative care

Medical research has shown that positive medical outcomes often correlate with strong family involvement. For example, studies have found that patients who underwent cardiothoracic surgery and had family members involved in a family support program were significantly less likely to be readmitted to the hospital. But it's not just surgery where patients need their families. “Your family knows you best, and may observe something that only they can see, like a subtle behavior change”, says Dr. Durant, adding, "the most valuable information often comes from families."

Having shareable recordings and transcripts from appointments means that everyone in the family knows to be on the lookout for side effects from medicines or progressing symptoms. There are also some cases where sharing a transcript enables someone in the family with increased medical literacy—like a nurse or pharmacy tech—to help explain things other family members might not understand2.

Eliminate the confusion

Your patients will always have questions. However, recording patient appointments can eliminate numerous calls with follow-up questions. Doing this, becomes less of a matter of re-answering the same questions a few days later and more a matter of answering interesting, thoughtful follow-ups. Dr. Durant claims that ever since he started recording his patient visits, his relationships with them have become clearer and more understanding.

It should be stressed that any recordings between you and your patient should be done openly. You should also keep your copies of any tapes, which will help protect both you and the patient; in case of a future disagreement about what was or was not discussed3.

Recording your conversations with your patients is not a cure-all for every memory or miscommunication problem, still these recordings can help improve your conversations’ transparency, and improve your patient’s ability to make the best medical decisions for themselves.

For those physicians looking to improve their patient relationships, we at eMedEvents offer webcast options specializing in this department. You can explore your options here.

Works Cited

  1. Erin Mercer; Recording Doctor Visits Is Just Another Step Toward Patients Taking Ownership over Their Own Care; August 2019, Op-Med
  2. 5 Reasons Physicians Should Encourage Recording Doctor's Visits; March 2020, Medcorder
  3. Paul Hsieh, Why You Should Record Your Doctor Visits; February 2015; Forbes
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