Forcing doctors to wear body cams is a great way to worsen health care

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Recorded encounters for the purpose of evaluation could even be the final straw that causes your doctor to quit.

In a recent column in The Boston Globe , a physician suggested doctors wear body cameras to record encounters with patients, in part because of concern for racism on the part of the doctor. On the flip side, in the United Kingdom, a recent National Health Survey found that 26% of health professionals and staff report at least one encounter per year of being abused or harassed by patients, and body cams have been suggested by several groups in the UK in order to help protect health-care workers. In fact, cameras have already been used in ambulances to record encounters. Yet body cams are the absolute wrong answer to ensure equality and fairness in medicine. It’s not too soon to nip this idea in the bud. For one thing, the entire doctor-patient relationship is built on trust. An intimate encounter where a patient reveals secrets that are essential for care and cures is one that needs to be free-flowing, not scripted based on fear of retribution. Secondly, if we were to record these encounters, who exactly would review them to make sure they were devoid of racist, sexist or antisemitic content, for example? Would it be the hospital, the medical…

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