Background: Providing patients with a video recording of their visit with a medical professional is a common-sense method for improving patient-provider communication.
Objective: To describe the patient and provider experiences to video recording clinical medical encounters and providing the patient with a copy of the video for informational purposes.
Methods: Since 2009, over 2,800 patients of eight different neurosurgeons chose to be video recorded during their encounter with the doctor and were provided access to the recording to watch over again as a way to recall what the doctor had said. The video system was set up as a handheld video camera, and video files were downloaded and made accessible to patients via a secure Internet patient portal. Between 2012 and 2014, patients who participated were surveyed regarding their use of the video and what was recorded on the video. The experience of the providers from a clinical and medico-legal standpoint was also reviewed.
Results: Three hundred and thirty-three responses to the survey were received (39.2% response rate). More than half of patients (N=333; 56.2%) watched their video more than once, and over two-thirds (N=333; 68.6%) shared their video with a family member, friend, or another physician. Patients self-reported improved memory after watching their videos (N=299; 73.6% could remember more) and 50.2% responded that having the video made them feel more "at ease" with their medical problem (N=299). Overall, 88.0% of respondents indicated that their video had been helpful to them, and 98.5% would recommend having future visits video recorded. No patient made a comment that the video was intrusive or had prevented them from being open with their doctor. Finally, in the high-risk specialty of neurosurgery, none of the 2,807 patients who have been recorded since 2009 have used a video in a medico-legal action.
Conclusions: Patient responses to the recording system and having a copy of their video were very positive. Most respondents indicated that they had improved memory as well as decreased anxiety about their neurosurgical problem. There have been no legal challenges to date from giving patients access to the video recording. Our results indicate that the benefits to patients for expanding the use of video in medicine may outweigh perceived risks to providers.
Keywords: anxiety; doctor-patient communication; medico-legal; memory; recall; video recording.