The power of modern technology has given the general public instant access to high quality cinematography from their personal devices. Nowadays, eyewitness accounts displayed in the news are almost inevitably caught on camera from the latest tablet or smartphone device. But what does this mean for patient consultations in the healthcare setting?

Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists

The Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists (SCP) has published guidelines[1] on patients recording podiatrists during consultation both covertly and overtly, in an attempt to tackle the tensions between encouraging transparency and protecting the interests of its members and the efficiency and integrity of their consultations.

The SCP’s stance is that podiatrists and practices should not exercise any meaningful prohibition of recording if patients request it. They should invite patients to record consultations for personal use.

Examples given of appropriate use include sharing the podiatrist’s recommendations with family members. The rationale is that the information is confidential to the patient and that is for the patient alone to decide with whom it might be shared. There would be nothing of course to prevent a third party from attending the consultation with the patient’s consent.

What does the law say?

Given the involvement of personal data, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is obviously key. Recording for personal use is not generally required to be GDPR compliant.

However, patients should be reminded that recording consultations does not come without risk. The minute they decide to share their recording on the internet or social media, they could be treated as a controller for the purposes of the GDPR, or run into criminal or civil proceeding territory, with understandable protection for the inadvertent podiatrist.

Our key recommendations for podiatrists

  1. Develop a practice policy to encourage openness and the recording of consultations
  2. Remind patients of the expectation of filming for personal use only and that risks may flow from sharing the recording more widely
  3. Offer recording as a practice service and retain a copy on patient file