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With recent advances in technology, smartphones can become recording devices with the touch of a button. This technological capability gives patients and their families the ability to easily and surreptitiously record conversations with physicians. The frequency of such recordings or whether they even occur is unknown. The ubiquity of smartphones, however, suggests the potential for secret recordings to occur. As of January 2014, 58% of Americans owned a smartphone, including 83% of young adults.1 Although recording conversations with physicians may provide some benefit for patients and their families, secret recordings can undermine patient-physician relationships and ultimately affect the provision of health care.
Rodriguez M, Morrow J, Seifi A. Ethical Implications of Patients and Families Secretly Recording Conversations With Physicians. JAMA. 2015;313(16):1615-1616. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.2424