My patient wants to record our treatment session what should I do?

We answer your questions as Jackie Lidgard a CSP professional adviser explains

Jackie Lidgard
CSP professional adviser Jackie Lidgard

It is becoming increasingly common for patients to request that they video or record physiotherapy consultations on mobile devices. This can feel unsettling and intrusive. You may wonder why the patient wants to do this, and what will happen with the recording they take. You may be concerned that the patient will use the information as the basis for a complaint if they are not satisfied with their treatment. 

Most patients wish to record appointments for their own use, allowing them to be reviewed at a later date, particularly if there is complex or detailed information being given. They may want to share the recording with family or friends, to provide them with information on their condition or to show the progress that they have made. A recording may also help support a patient who has cognitive or communication difficulties.

If the patient is requesting to record their appointment, they should use their own device. Patients do not need to get your permission to record consultations, but it is common courtesy that you should be told about this beforehand. You cannot refuse to be recorded, but if you work for an organisation, familiarise yourself with their policy.

If a patient is recording on their own device for personal or private use, it is likely to be exempt from the Data Protection Act, as it is personal data, processed by an individual for their personal affairs. 

From a record-keeping perspective, you can document that a patient has recorded a consultation. You may wish to remind them of the private and confidential nature of the recording, that it is their responsibility to keep it safe and secure, and that it is only made for personal use. 

Further information

You can find further information on our information paper on Consent and Physiotherapy Practice. 

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