Great EMR Idea – Sychronized Video?

I don’t know how many people have used OneNote that is usually meant for tablet pc’s, but it has a great feature that allows you to record a meeting’s audio and take notes at the same time. Later if you want to listen to the meeting you can replay the audio. More importantly, you can choose somewhere in your notes and it will take you to the audio that was being recorded when you took that note.

My next question is why couldn’t you integrate this type of feature into an EMR? While you’re taking notes on a patient you could record what they’re telling you. Then, you have everything they told you synchronized with the notes you take. Granted some of the synchronization might be tough since you might not be typing while they’re talking. However, why not take it a step further? Record the entire visit and synchronize the video with the EMR notes you take during the encounter. How nice would it be to just pull up the video to remember what was said when you are doing your charting later in the day? Legally I think it has pros and cons. You know exactly what was said and so you can prove that everything was appropriate. Although, I think the other side is a valid legal issue too since they might have said something you didn’t pick up and then you’d be responsible for that.

There are some interesting technical problems with this. Most important is the amount of disk space you would need to do this type of recording. This will probably make it cost prohibitive for a little while longer. SANS need to come down in price first. Having this much disk space is just a matter of time. Only a few years ago we had a computer with a 5 gig hard drive. It’s tough to buy smaller than 32 gig drives these days with 300 gig drives available. Also, adding this type of advanced functionality is no small task. Any EMR companies willing to take this task on board? Probably not until the market starts demanding it. How about a University researching EMR (although I’ve heard this doesn’t exist) working on a solution?

Think about it. Could having a video recording revolutionize the way you chart? Do you really need to chart everything they’ve said since you have it on recording? Your charting could just consist of your observations(although you could record these on video in front of the patient) and the assessment and plan. Ok, so I’m not a doctor, but if you’re a doctor reading this I’m sure you can see how this could change the way you chart.

I think I might need to post this idea to the Microsoft Healthcare blog I visit on occasion and see what he has to say about the idea. If Microsoft builds the technology that could be a nice cash cow for them.

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of the, a network of leading Healthcare IT resources. The flagship blog, Healthcare IT Today, contains over 13,000 articles with over half of the articles written by John. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 20 million times.

John manages Healthcare IT Central, the leading career Health IT job board. He also organizes the first of its kind conference and community focused on healthcare marketing, Healthcare and IT Marketing Conference, and a healthcare IT conference,, focused on practical healthcare IT innovation. John is an advisor to multiple healthcare IT companies. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can be found on Twitter: @techguy.


  • Thanks for the great blog. I found it about a week ago.

    The video idea is interesting. But I think it’s time isn’t here yet due to the high costs for storage and video recording equipment. Also I’m not sure most doctors and patients would feel comfortable with the idea of recording their discussions. This is something that does make more sense in a telemedicine environment where other doctors can collaborate on a case and especially in an academic teaching environment where student can learn from examples.

    The audio idea is one that I think has more promise in the meantime. I know of many elderly patients who bring along a “helper”, usually a relative or a social worker, to take notes so that they don’t forget anything the doc tells them to do. Many of those patients would like to be able to get a recording of the visit to ensure that didn’t miss anything. So in that case I think it be useful.
    Just my thoughts.

  • I’m glad you enjoy the blog! Thanks for the great comment. I think more interaction will help it to become even better. I’m just not sure how to make that happen.

    I agree that video isn’t practical now because of storage costs. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if it was the future. I think it would take a change in perspective to implement video since it would drastically affect the way a doctor practices medicine. Not to mention security concerns galore.

    I hadn’t thought about the process of giving patients the audio that was discussed. How about instead of recording the whole discussion you start recording what you want the patient to do? Then, that recording is stored in your EMR and you secure email(or possibly a patient portal) the patient the recording for future reference.

    One other issue I just thought of is how you send a patient’s record to another provider or a lawyer, etc? I wonder what people would do when they got an audio file. I guess it would be duplicate of what was written so it might not be necessary. I don’t know insurance companies that well, but I’m not sure what they would think of this kind of documentation.

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