Overt and covert recordings of health care consultations in Australia: some legal considerations

Megan Prictor, Carolyn Johnston and Amelia Hyatt
Med J Aust 2021; 214 (3): . || doi: 10.5694/mja2.50838
Published online: 2 November 2020

There are legal considerations for both clinicians and patients when recording health care consultations

Studies show that patients often have inaccurate recall of health care events and diagnoses.1 Concentration during a medical consultation may be “hampered by unspoken anxieties or pain, making it difficult to recall detail”.2 Audio recordings of consultations can be useful for patients and clinicians to assist memory and understanding. They have mainly been evaluated in oncology and paediatrics.3,4 Patients report that listening to their consultation recording increases knowledge and understanding of their illness, and recordings can assist with treatment decision making, increasing a sense of empowerment.5 Sharing recordings with family can facilitate support and understanding. Clinicians likewise recognise recordings’ benefits for patients and for improving the quality and efficiency of their care.6

  • Megan Prictor1
  • Carolyn Johnston1
  • Amelia Hyatt2

  • 1 Melbourne Law School, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC
  • 2 Cancer Experiences Research, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Melbourne, VIC


We thank Associate Professor Mark Taylor and Associate Professor Andrew Roberts, Melbourne Law School, University of Melbourne, for their review of a draft version of this article.

Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures.


remove_circle_outline Delete Author
add_circle_outline Add Author

Do you have any competing interests to declare? *

I/we agree to assign copyright to the Medical Journal of Australia and agree to the Conditions of publication *
I/we agree to the Terms of use of the Medical Journal of Australia *
Email me when people comment on this article

Online responses are no longer available. Please refer to our instructions for authors page for more information.