Patients' use of digital audio recordings in four different outpatient clinics

Int J Qual Health Care. 2015 Dec;27(6):466-72. doi: 10.1093/intqhc/mzv069. Epub 2015 Sep 23.


Objective: To investigate a new technology of digital audio recording (DAR) of health consultations to provide knowledge about patients' use and evaluation of this recording method.

Design: A cross-sectional feasibility analysis of the intervention using log data from the recording platform and data from a patient-administered questionnaire.

Setting: Four different outpatient clinics at a Danish hospital: Paediatrics, Orthopaedics, Internal Medicine and Urology.

Participants: Two thousand seven hundred and eighty-four outpatients having their consultation audio recorded by one of 49 participating health professionals.

Intervention: DAR of outpatient consultations provided to patients permitting replay of their consultation either alone or together with their relatives.

Main outcome measure: Replay of the consultation within 90 days from the consultation.

Results: In the adult outpatient clinics, one in every three consultations was replayed; however, the rates were significantly lower in the paediatric clinic where one in five consultations was replayed. The usage of the audio recordings was positively associated with increasing patient age and first time visits to the clinic. Patient gender influenced replays in different ways; for instance, relatives to male patients replayed recordings more often than relatives to female patients did. Approval of future recordings was high among the patients who replayed the consultation.

Conclusion: Patients found that recording health consultations was an important information aid, and the digital recording technology was found to be feasible in routine practice.

Keywords: audio recordings; outpatients; patient safety; patient–provider communication; quality improvement; technology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Ambulatory Care Facilities*
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Tape Recording / statistics & numerical data*
  • Young Adult