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My 2016 prediction: It will become mandatory for doctors to record consultations

In an effort to curb the rising costs of medical indemnity in general practice, the main medical defence organisations have joined forces with the BMA, the GMC, CQC, RCGP and an as-yet unnamed voice recognition software company to provide GPs with the opportunity of cutting their costs in 2016. It is hoped that the scheme will also mean that vindictive and spurious reports to the GMC can be easily dismissed.

Essentially, all GP rooms will be fitted with microphones in the coming months, which will be linked directly to a secure server hosted by the voice recognition software company. All human voices will be recorded all day, including a patch in from telephone consultations. The belief is that such recordings will enable doctors to defend themselves against malicious claims from patients and revolutionise record keeping.

Each consultation will be transcribed by state of the art software to provide a full transcript, which will remain indefinitely on a secure server; with triple encryption and an extra big padlock on the front door. The full transcript will be available to a patient under a Freedom of Information request and also by medical defence organisations and the GMC.

The full transcript will not be entered into the patients’ notes. The GP will still have the option of writing his or her own notes or choosing one of the presets, from, ‘Inpenetrable block of text as written by a medical student,’ to ‘punchy bullets points by young GP’ or simply using the ‘one line summary by GP reaching retirement, I wish we still used the Lloyd George notes’ setting.

Experts in information governance are understood to be spitting feathers. A spokesman for the scheme has been quoted as saying, ‘They need to chill. Who really believes that any of the data about them is secure anyway? Time to get real, I say. If patients can record the consultations, then why can’t we?’

A national publicity campaign is planned. Watch this space.

Dr Samir Dawlatly is a GP in Birmingham