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To Record or Not to Record?

One of the tips I share with my clients is to record their physician appointments so they can review afterwards in case they missed something. There's one caveat, however-doing so secretly is illegal in 11 states.

Over 3/4 of the US population owns a smartphone, making this topic an important and relevant one. One of the many non-phone actions you can accomplish on a smartphone is recording another person. Doing so without the other person's knowledge may sound unquestionably illegal; however, it is actually legal in 39 states. These states are considered single-party jurisdictions, meaning only one party, the one performing the recording, must consent. The other 11 states are considered all-party jurisdiction states, meaning both the healthcare professional and the patient must consent to the recording. These states include FL, CA, IL, MD, MA, MI, MT, NH, OR, PA, and WA. If you live in one of these states, you must be aware that recording an encounter without permission is illegal.

What about HIPAA? Interestingly enough, HIPAA protects the patient from confidentiality breaches, so it would cover recordings performed by the healthcare professional. It does not, however, apply to recordings made by the patient. Therefore, in single-party jurisdiction states, a patient could record without permission, then distribute as pleased.

In summary, it's important to know what the laws are in your state before you proceed. If you can't remember, be safe and simply ask if you can record for your own purposes of reviewing later. A healthcare professional who stands by their recommendations should not take offense to this. If he or she does, it may be a red flag to consider.

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