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Hi guys - Recording doctor conversations...helpful?

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My name is Kyle and my team at Remy are working on a medical assistant mobile app that helps to record a patient's conversation with their doctor. We built this solution to help cancer patients better remember their lengthy and frequent conversations with their doctor. We've found that at least 80% of patients forget at least a part of their doctors visit, which can have catastrophic outcomes.


We wanted to solicit feedback directly from cancer patients and better understand your interactions with your doctors. What are your thoughts on recording doctor conversations? Would you find this useful? Do you have often have trouble remembering all of the info from your doctors?


You can also check out the app here. Thanks!

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I'm a retired prosecutor, and it's important to know that in many states, wiretap laws prohibit recording without the consent of BOTH parties to the conversation.  And even in states where the consent of only one party is needed, I think the need for trust in the doctor-patient relationship means that a doctor should always be asked for permission before recording a visit.  Some might not be comfortable with the idea, and I think that should be respected.

Personally, I wouldn't be inclined to record a visit.  Take notes, yes, but not record.  

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I agree with Lexie. 

Yes, I think it might be helpful to record but I'd still prefer to take notes.  I personally don't see a provider being in favor of this in the event that something might be misconstrued or held against them in the future.

For myself, personally, if I don't remember something the Dr. said or got fuzzy on what I was told, I will usually use the patient portal (which seems to be available almost everywhere now from providers) to put my questions in writing. I can then get information I've requested back in writing as well for future reference or clarification when I need it.  That seems to be working for me.

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Kyle,

I practiced more than 40 years as a registered professional civil engineer. If a client told me my engineering consultation was going to be recorded, I would not have allowed it and I would have told the client to find another engineer.  Recording to me would feel like being set up for a liability law suite.  If recording was forced (like in a legal deposition), my opinions would be a lot more open ended providing lots of meaningless information to avoid legal liability.  There is one big difference between a consulting engineer and a consulting physician: the physician bears uncertainty about outcomes including death of the patient (client).

I am a lung cancer survivor.  I've had many intense and complicated consultations with my treatment team.  In all cases, my doctors were open and forthright with information and insight. The technical information was difficult enough to understand at a grass roots level.  Had it been lathered with all kinds of CYA "techobabble", understanding and comprehension would have been impossible. Yes, lots of information is conveyed, but the conveyance is conversation between doctor and patient. If technology could develop a way to facilitate understanding of the conversation in near real time, that might be helpful.  But recording restrains communication and that restraint is worse than forgetting or not understanding an element of communication.

I always encourage the newly diagnosed to bring someone to a "results revealed" and "first treatment" consultation.  In my case, my wife attended every consultation.  She also asked questions and her questions prompted new avenues of treatment discussions.  Both the environment of the conversation and the information provided during the conversation are important to a successful oncology consultation.  Your technology, my view, improves the information recollection at the expense of degradation of the environment.

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On 3/13/2019 at 1:37 PM, LexieCat said:

I'm a retired prosecutor, and it's important to know that in many states, wiretap laws prohibit recording without the consent of BOTH parties to the conversation.  And even in states where the consent of only one party is needed, I think the need for trust in the doctor-patient relationship means that a doctor should always be asked for permission before recording a visit.  Some might not be comfortable with the idea, and I think that should be respected.

Personally, I wouldn't be inclined to record a visit.  Take notes, yes, but not record.  

Thank you Lexie - We share that view with you as well. We recommend all users to consult with their doctor prior to recording their conversations even though certain states do not require 2 party consent. As a former prosecutor, what are your views on the liabilities associated with a doctor being sued in a malpractice suit? This has clearly been the most brought up point by our potential users.

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On 3/13/2019 at 1:54 PM, ColleenRae said:

I agree with Lexie. 

Yes, I think it might be helpful to record but I'd still prefer to take notes.  I personally don't see a provider being in favor of this in the event that something might be misconstrued or held against them in the future.

For myself, personally, if I don't remember something the Dr. said or got fuzzy on what I was told, I will usually use the patient portal (which seems to be available almost everywhere now from providers) to put my questions in writing. I can then get information I've requested back in writing as well for future reference or clarification when I need it.  That seems to be working for me.

Thanks for the feedback Colleen. My mother actually works in implementing IT for hospitals and often mentions how confusing patient portals can be. Is this something you could corroborate? One potential idea that we had was creating a mobile chat app between doctors and patients so that a patient can ask questions to their doctors/PAs directly.

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On 3/13/2019 at 5:47 PM, Tom Galli said:

Kyle,

I practiced more than 40 years as a registered professional civil engineer. If a client told me my engineering consultation was going to be recorded, I would not have allowed it and I would have told the client to find another engineer.  Recording to me would feel like being set up for a liability law suite.  If recording was forced (like in a legal deposition), my opinions would be a lot more open ended providing lots of meaningless information to avoid legal liability.  There is one big difference between a consulting engineer and a consulting physician: the physician bears uncertainty about outcomes including death of the patient (client).

I am a lung cancer survivor.  I've had many intense and complicated consultations with my treatment team.  In all cases, my doctors were open and forthright with information and insight. The technical information was difficult enough to understand at a grass roots level.  Had it been lathered with all kinds of CYA "techobabble", understanding and comprehension would have been impossible. Yes, lots of information is conveyed, but the conveyance is conversation between doctor and patient. If technology could develop a way to facilitate understanding of the conversation in near real time, that might be helpful.  But recording restrains communication and that restraint is worse than forgetting or not understanding an element of communication.

I always encourage the newly diagnosed to bring someone to a "results revealed" and "first treatment" consultation.  In my case, my wife attended every consultation.  She also asked questions and her questions prompted new avenues of treatment discussions.  Both the environment of the conversation and the information provided during the conversation are important to a successful oncology consultation.  Your technology, my view, improves the information recollection at the expense of degradation of the environment.

Thanks for the feedback Tom. Your last point highlights a key concern of ours. In no way do we want to degrade the quality of care.

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My experience is slightly different. From day one, three years ago, I have requested and received my doctors notes on each visit that I have had with her. I would not feel comfortable recording our conversations but she has never had any hesitancy in providing her notes. I have kept these and can go back very quickly if I want to research something she has said or to remind myself of something I should be doing.

it works for me. Others mileage may very.

Ron

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1 hour ago, RemyCare said:

Thanks for the feedback Colleen. My mother actually works in implementing IT for hospitals and often mentions how confusing patient portals can be. Is this something you could corroborate? One potential idea that we had was creating a mobile chat app between doctors and patients so that a patient can ask questions to their doctors/PAs directly.

Personally I have not found the portals I've used for the past several years to be confusing. The one thing I don't like is test results are often posted on the portal before the patient / I have even spoken to the ordering doctor.  I've found this can produce confusion and unwarranted stress on the patient at times.

RE: Mobile chat app... Personally, I would not be in favor.  I just saw my surgeon (who I have communicated with through the patient portal - he either writes or calls me back directly; often late evenings) and he expressed how much he dislikes the patient portal.  His employer wants the physicians to use the portal to write responses back to patients. My surgeon said he prefers to call and would really prefer to have nothing to do with anything like patient portals, Facebook, Instagram, etc.  He was quite vocal / opinionated regarding this!  I can understand his viewpoint.  In our area - and I imagine it is the same almost everywhere now - Dr's schedules are extremely tight and they are already under an enormous amount of pressure. Infringing upon that time with one more electronic device (mobile chat app) just doesn't seem like a successful endeavor, in my opinion.  I do not see any real advantage in having this. Patients can still use a phone to call their doctor/PA directly to ask questions. They can use the portal. They can also book an appointment if the question(s) require long, detailed responses.  I think adding the burden of mobile chat app responses to a medical providers cumbersome list of responsibilities is not something I see as necessary. Not everything has to be done on an app! I'd much rather see my providers have the time to do what they were trained to do - look after their patient's health.  I may be wrong, but I just don't see many doctor's being on board with this.

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