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    For Quality And Training Purposes, This Conversation May Be Recorded By Julie Buyon

    By agebuzz Contributing Editor Julie Buyon


    Not for training, but for quality purposes, consider recording your conversations with your doctor.  Healthcare quality, that is.


    It can be really difficult to remember, much less understand and process, all the information that is conveyed in a visit with your doctor. This is especially challenging when a serious diagnosis is explained. That’s why a Powerhouse Patient always takes notes during a visit, or even better, brings someone along to take notes for them so they can be fully engaged with the doctor. But there are situations where a trusted notetaker is unavailable, like when you are in a hospital, and recording your conversation may be the best way to capture everything that is discussed.


    So consider grabbing your smartphone and hitting “record”. If you’re not one of the 85% of Americans who has a smartphone, you can purchase a small digital recorder for under $25. But if you do have a smartphone, you can use it to record the consultation for future playback or use one of these apps that use artificial intelligence (AI) speech recognition technology to transcribe it: Abridge or Medcorder.  


    Some of the advantages of recording your consultation with the doctor include:

    • Replaying the conversation so you can clarify information and catch things you missed.
    • Sharing the recording with family members or others involved in your care, especially those who are far away.
    • Taking notes from the recording, rather than during doctor visits, so that you are more fully engaged during the visit.
    • Helping overcome any language barriers, by having someone who is more fluent listen to the discussion and help translate for you.


    If you want to record your consultation, you should always ask your doctor for his or her consent to be recorded.  While most states do not require both parties in a conversation to consent to be recorded (check the laws in your state here), a secret recording can undermine the trust between you and your doctor. If your doctor declines to record the discussion, he or she is in the minority of clinicians. A 2018 Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy study reports that “more than a quarter of surveyed physicians said they had recorded a clinical visit for their patient’s personal use, and half of the physicians who had not were willing to do so.”  


    Studies tell us that patients value and benefit from listening to clinical consultation recordings.  Dartmouth’s Open Recordings project and the University of Texas Oliver Center for Patient Safety and Quality Health Care promote and research how visit recordings can improve patient health and quality of life.  Michigan family practitioner Dr. James Ryan has been recording visits since 2011, providing access to the recordings to his patients via a secure online platform.


    Use the recording to supplement the written notes taken during the visit, or if notes were not taken, take notes from the recording. Taking notes helps us synthesize, understand and remember information in a deeper way than merely listening or reading because we actively engage with the topic. 


    The bottom line is that recording your visit is another tool you can use to get the most out of your doctor visit – all with the push of a button!



    Julie Buyon is a palliative care patient advocate. She has professional and personal expertise in assisting people with complex illnesses navigate the healthcare environment. Julie’s role is to help patients feel empowered, and her agebuzz posts are intended to make sure agebuzz readers have all the tools and info they need to advocate for themselves and their loved ones. Julie would love agebuzz readers to email her at with any questions or problems encountered with the healthcare system, and she will do all she can to address those issues in upcoming blog posts. She also welcomes feedback regarding her advice or recommendations. Read all of Julie’s agebuzz posts here and get in touch with Julie now at