In what way may videotapes be used to get significant information about the patient-physician relationship?

Med Teach. 1990;12(2):197-208. doi: 10.3109/01421599009006697.


The aim of this study is to describe a two-step video method, where patients and physicians (on different occasions) comment on the recorded consultations, and to evaluate the method regarding the kind of information received and the influence of the video-camera on patients' and physicians' behaviour. We chose to depart from a phenomenological method introduced by Frankel and Beckman. Their method was modified with regard to the review procedure; the instructions, for example, were changed. Forty-six consultations were videotaped in four primary health care centres. Twelve general practitioners and 46 patients participated. Only a few patients (4) commented without any substantial content or in a completely neutral way. The remaining patients, and all the physicians, gave nuanced descriptions of their experiences during the consultations. Few (1/5) comments dealt with the videotaping itself; e.g. explanations to the research personnel and other irrelevant issues. The influence of the video-camera seemed to be stronger for the physicians than for the patients, but the effects were only marginal. The conclusion is, that by this modified video-method the ability to obtain knowledge to help to understand/interpret the patient-physician relationship was increased. Nowadays video-recording is an established method in behavioural science. In a study about the patient-physician relationship, we plan to use a two-step method of video-recording as the basis for analysing the key factors in the communication. Thus, it is important first to study the possibilities of obtaining valid and reliable information with the method, and then to make a decision about advantages and disadvantages.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Physician-Patient Relations*
  • Teaching / methods*
  • Videotape Recording / methods*