Photographic, Video and Audio Recording of Patients

This resource helps explain what you can expect if your physician or surgeon seeks your consent to create a photographic, video or audio recording of you.

What to expect

The College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC is committed to your protection and safety.

This is a summary of what you can expect if your physician or surgeon seeks your consent to create a photographic, video or audio recording of you.

Why might a physician or surgeon wish to create a recording?

A physician or surgeon might wish to take photographs of you or record parts of your examination on a video or audio device for a variety of purposes. Recordings may be created as part of your medical care to assist in your assessment, investigation, and/or treatment. A recording may also be made in the context of providing virtual care, or for another purpose such as teaching, training, or research.

Can I refuse to have a recording made?

Yes, it is entirely your choice whether you wish to have a recording made during an examination. Your refusal to consent to a recording will not affect the quality of the care being offered, however in some circumstances, it may impact the services available to you.

What can I expect when a recording is requested?

Before the recording is made, physicians and surgeons are expected to:

  • Inform you why the recording is being requested, who will be allowed to see or hear it (including the names of the people, if known), whether copies will be made, how long the recording will be kept and that the recording can be discontinued at any time.
  • Provide you with sufficient time to consider a neutrally worded, understandable consent form, providing translation services where necessary.
  • Ask for your consent to proceed with the recording. If you are a minor, and unable to consent on your own behalf, the consent of a parent, guardian or representative must be obtained.

During the recording, physicians are surgeons are expected to:

  • Stop the recording immediately upon your request or if they believe it is having a negative impact on you or your care.

After the recording, physicians and surgeons are expected to:

  • Invite you to discuss any concerns you may have regarding the recording and consider whether you wish to withdraw the consent to use the recording. If you withdraw your consent, the recording must be erased as soon as possible.
  • Only use the recording for the purpose for which your consent was obtained.
  • Maintain the recording as part of your medical record when appropriate.

Note: for security purposes in many public buildings, common areas such as clinic waiting rooms may have cameras that record activity. In this case, individual patient consent is not required, however, physicians and surgeons are expected to follow additional rules and post visible signage wherever recordings are being made.