What should I do if a patient asks to record a consultation?
First, don't assume that the patient doesn't trust you; the recording could actually help them retain and better understand what's discussed in the consultation.
It might also give the patient the chance to watch or listen to the recording in their own time, so they can consider the risks and benefits of treatment options and make an informed decision.
Under data protection law, a patient can record a consultation, as long as it's for their own use.
You may want to ask the patient to respect your confidentiality if you're concerned they will post the recording online, or share it with others. Ultimately, however, it's difficult to stop a patient from sharing the recording if they are determined to do so.
Communication and consent
If the consultation being filmed is an operative procedure, it's a good idea to describe the details to the patient first so they're not shocked to see how the procedure is carried out.
If you discover the patient recording covertly, consider inviting them to record the consultation openly.
You may then want to ask for a copy of the recording to add to the patient's dental records. Reassure the patient that the recording will be stored securely, and not used for any other purpose.
If you're concerned that the recording indicates the patient doesn't trust you, you might want to raise this with them later. Don't be confrontational in your approach, as this could damage your relationship with the patient.
Can I record a consultation?
Be wary of recording consultations solely to defend complaints and litigation. This might be seen as defensive by patients, and potentially affect your relationship with them.
A digital recording forms part of the dental record and contains personal data, under data protection law.
Guide to consent to dental treatment - The DDU
If you wish to record a consultation with a patient, you will need to get consent before making the recording.
Patients need to understand:
- the purpose of the recording
- who will be allowed to see it
- the context in which it will be used
- whether copies will be made
- arrangements for secure storage
- how long it will be kept.
You should reassure the patient that they can refuse permission or withdraw it at any time, during or after the recording. If they refuse permission, make sure they know the recording will not be used and the quality of care they receive won't be affected.
After the recording is made, we recommend you give the patient another opportunity to confirm their consent, and to watch the recording if they want to. It's also advisable to note in the patient's record whether they gave or withheld their consent.
Remember that making a recording does not replace the need to make a contemporaneous clinical record of the consultation.
Recordings should be retained for the same period as any other clinical records.
In the event of a complaint, claim or some other formal investigation, you may be ordered, or have a duty to disclose all relevant records, including any recordings, in their entirety.
This page was correct at publication on 28/10/2022. Any guidance is intended as general guidance for members only. If you are a member and need specific advice relating to your own circumstances, please contact one of our advisers.