With the proliferation of smartphones and recording apps, recording a physician during an appointment is all too easy. The question becomes what happens when a physician is secretly recorded without her knowledge? When told they were secretly recorded, most physicians react with anger and disgust. The reason for the reaction is because they assume the next person to hear the recording will be malpractice attorney, dissecting it, listening for actionable mistakes. That, however, is not always the case.
What about the situation when a patient’s wife accompanies her husband to a subsequent appointment, saying that the physician failed to provide her husband any instructions the last time? Or if a patient is habitually unable to remember which medication to stop and which to start? How about when the adult children of a patient are unable to make it to the appointment, but want to know how to best assist their parent? Recording a physician in all of these situations would be reasonable, and likely welcomed by the doctor.
In that vein, Cullman Regional Medical Center instituted a plan that created audio recordings of the instructions that patients received at the time of discharge from the hospital. The audio was a verbatim recording of what the patient was told as part of their discharge, which was administered by a nurse or case manager. The recordings were uploaded to a cloud, where they could be accessed by calling in, or via the Web. The hope was that the recording could help clarify any confusion that the patient or their families may have about the numerous questions that often arise after leaving a medical facility. They called the program, appropriately enough, “Good To Go.” The program turned out to be a great success, not only did it improve patient satisfaction scores but surprisingly reduced 30-day readmissions by 15%.
Next time you’re wondering whether to record a visit with your physician, go ahead and ask. The answer may very well be “yes!”