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Practice Matters Issue 7: October 2014

The team at Practice Matters select articles based on what is topical with MPS practice members. We regularly review the queries to the MPS telephone advisory service in order to draw out what is topical and relevant.

So-called digital dilemmas are frequently the subject of calls taken by medicolegal advisers such as myself.

In this issue we tackle dilemmas around communicating with patients by text and patients asking to record a consultation. Tackling the former first, text messaging is an easy and direct way of communicating information, such as test results, however, practices must be mindful of the risks around confidentiality and consent that it could present.

A key factor to remember is that text messages do form part of the medical record and any text message exchanges should be recorded therein.

A key factor to remember is that text messages do form part of the medical record and any text message exchanges should be recorded therein.

Recording consultations should be handled differently; if you feel uncomfortable at the prospect of being recorded, express this discomfort with the patient.

However, if the patient is insistent, you still owe a duty to the patient to assess their condition. It is advisable that if the consultation is recorded; keep a copy of the video in the patient’s notes as part of a permanent record.

Flexibility and technological advances are part of the future of general practice, so it is worth considering that recording consultations, with both patient and GP retaining copies as records, could be commonplace in the future. It is necessary to consider the risks now.

As always, I hope you enjoy this edition. Please do feedback any comments you may have.

Dr Richard Stacey 
Editor-in-chief and MPS medicolegal adviser

Disclaimer: All information is correct at the time of publishing (October 2014)
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