Can I Record My Doctor's Appointments?

Claudia Cometa

Claudia Cometa

June 24, 2020

Half of all patients walk out of their doctor’s offices unclear on what they were just told or are supposed to do, unless they had taken notes or had someone with them.

If a Healthcare Advisor can’t attend an appointment, a good tip is to record your appointments so you can review it afterwards. There's one caveat, however: doing so secretly is illegal in 11 states.

Over 3/4 of the US population owns a smartphone, making it very easy to record conversations. Recording your physician without them knowing may sound unquestionably illegal - but surprisingly, it is actually legal in 39 states. These states are considered single-party jurisdictions, meaning only one party, the one performing the recording, must consent. The other 11 states are considered all-party jurisdiction states, meaning both the healthcare professional and the patient must consent to the recording.

These states include:

  1. Florida

  2. California

  3. Illinois

  4. Maryland

  5. Massachussetts

  6. Michigan

  7. Montana

  8. New Hampshire

  9. Oregon

  10. Pennsylvania

  11. Washington

If you live in one of these states, you must be aware that recording an encounter without permission is illegal.

Are you wondering if it works both ways, protecting your doctor from recording you? HIPAA protects you from confidentiality breaches, so it would cover recordings performed by your medical team without your consent. It does not, however, apply to recordings made by you. Therefore, in single-party jurisdiction states, you could record without permission, then distribute as pleased.

It's important to know what the laws are in your state before pulling out a smartphone for a recording. If you can't remember, be safe and simply ask if you can record for your own purposes of reviewing later. A healthcare professional who stands by their recommendations should not take offense to this. If he or she does, it may be a red flag to consider.