Parental attitudes to digital recording: A paediatric hospital survey

J Paediatr Child Health. 2011 Jun;47(6):335-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1754.2010.01981.x.


Aim: Digital recording is ubiquitous in the community. Its objectivity, permanence and utility in medical education have led to increasing use in health-care settings. As participants in this process, the perspectives of families are important to inform practice. We surveyed family members of hospitalized children to evaluate their opinions.

Methods: A survey was administered to adults in emergency, operating room or ICU waiting areas at a university-affiliated paediatric hospital in Toronto. Respondents rated the frequency of digital recording in the community and hospital environments, the acceptability of five clinical indications and of consent discussions.

Results: Participants completed 154 surveys (response rate 83%) with median (interquartile range) of 2 (1-2) children. Community use of recording >4 times in the week prior was reported by 47 (31%); 42 (28%) reported no recording. The respondents rated the following indications for digital recording acceptable in the health care research 142 (94%), medical education 140 (93%), quality improvement 140 (92%), patient safety 147 (97%), and clinical care (96%). Within healthcare, consent discussions at different times were rated as acceptable before recording by 99%; after recording by 41%; and with no consent by 17%.

Conclusion: We performed the first post-privacy legislation survey of digital recording in Canadian health care. There is widespread acceptance of digital recording in public spaces and health care; however, respondents preferred to provide consent before recording. Balancing these preferences with the demonstrated advantages of video recording in health care presents challenges for optimal health policy creation. This study provides contemporary data to inform discussions.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Hospitals, Pediatric*
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units, Pediatric
  • Ontario
  • Operating Rooms
  • Parents / psychology*
  • Video Recording / statistics & numerical data*
  • Young Adult