GPs support taping of consultations

GPs broadly support the idea of recording consultations to form a database for the profession and public, research shows.

Recording: a useful training tool (Photograph: SPL)
Recording: a useful training tool (Photograph: SPL)

A study found that GPs and patients support routine audio recording of consultations for training and research, as long as necessary safeguards are in place.

The researchers said recording of GPs' interactions with patients could, in the long-term, help to provide consistency in diagnoses, referrals and prescriptions across GP practices.

But they also said GPs and the public want the appropriate safeguards put in place to address data governance and user-protection issues.

All stakeholder groups wanted strong governance of the data with restricted access, the report said. It outlined that patients should not be able to 'trawl' the data looking for medical errors to support litigation.

The study concluded: 'All stakeholder groups were in favour of the routine recording on GP consultations for research purposes and believed that such data could improve healthcare.'

RCGP chairman elect Dr Clare Gerada said the audio-recording of consultations can be a 'useful tool', providing the recordings are used ethically, with patient consent and with full consideration of patient confidentially.

She said: 'For practitioners, the recording of consultations can be a useful learning tool, providing insight into consistent, good practice.

'For patients, it allows them to refer back to their consultations, ensuring they are always fully informed about their care.'

Earlier this year, medico-legal experts warned that GPs cannot prevent patients from recording consultations and posting them on the websites, such as YouTube.

  • Patient Education and Counselling Online 2010

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