Recording doctor's visits in Louisiana

If you have a cellphone in your pocket, the odds are good that you have a powerful little recording device right at your fingertips -- just like many other people these days.

Experts say that more and more people are recording office visits with their primary care doctors and specialists. In some cases, the patient may be concerned about malpractice. Most of the time, however, they're mostly concerned that they won't remember everything that the doctor tells them.

Studies indicate that over 70 percent of patients who record their visits end up reviewing them on their own. Almost as many show the recordings to their primary caregivers or another close relative. Studies also indicate that patients who record their visits are actually more satisfied with their care and understand what their doctors tell them better.

There are some health care facilities that now even offer patients the ability to record doctor's visits -- with the doctor's permission. Doctors are given financial encouragement to participate in the recording programs by getting a 10 percent decrease in their medical malpractice insurance costs and a bump in the amount of coverage they have by $1 million.

It's important to understand that Louisiana law allows the recording of private communications as long as one party involved gives his or her consent. That means that you're generally legally able to record your doctor's visits without your doctor's permission -- but that may not make your doctor very happy if he or she finds out.

Recordings of office visits and hospital room visits obviously have a significant value in the legal setting if something goes wrong. The potential value of a recording in a medical malpractice case is, quite naturally, huge. It could completely prove (or disprove) a plaintiff's case if something happens to go wrong with his or her medical care.

Ultimately, it's probably best to talk with your doctor before you start recording -- even if you have the legal right to do so without permission.

Source: Medical News Today, "Can patients record doctor's visits? What does the law say?," accessed March 01, 2018

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