The Covid-19 pandemic has thrust businesses and professionals across the globe into a virtual world and new way of working. Communication has been pushed online, and whilst platforms such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams have been invaluable for businesses working remotely, there are definite risks associated with online communication.
In the healthcare world, much time has been spent trying to ascertain the most appropriate approach when clinicians are consulting patients remotely. However, less attention has been paid to the non-clinical teams, and what should ideally be happening during team / management / governance meetings. We therefore spend some time considering this angle below.
Platforms such as Zoom can be used to record virtual meetings. Whilst recording meetings can have benefits when seeking to recall information, it comes with new risks that would not be associated with written minutes taken in a face-to-face meetings. These risks will be magnified if, further down the line, you, your colleague or your organisation are the subject of litigation.
As with written documents, recordings are generally discoverable in litigation. We therefore have some recommendations before you consider physically using the record function during a meeting:
Make all parties aware of your intentions to record the meeting. It is wise to seek written confirmation from each participant.
Inform participants of the specific purpose of the recording. This may be so that participants can talk freely, encouraging conversation without anyone having to focus their attention on recording the minutes. If attending parties do not consent, you may choose to assign minute-taking to a colleague.
Ask yourself whether you were recording meetings when they took place in person. If you were not, then why start now?
If you find significant benefit in recording a meeting, or find yourself in a meeting that is being recorded, remember to treat recorded conversations as you would written correspondence. In other words, do not say anything during a recorded conversation that you would not note in an email or letter. This principle should of course apply to your professional conduct whether or not you are being recorded, but, as recent internet phenomenons such as the chaotic Handforth Parish Council meeting illustrated, occasionally things can get heated in the context of a work meeting. We therefore advise you to show particular caution when discussing contentious issues or notably confidential topics such as, during a governance meeting or weekly case round up, referencing patient or claimant names or specific details of medical history.
Whilst it is easy to recognise the value of virtual communication platforms as we adjust to the ‘new normal’ where face-to-face interactions are not possible, be cautious of the possible risks and take steps to mitigate them where possible.
If you would like further information, please feel free to contact us using the details below.
Flora McCabe, Head of Healthcare Claims | Senior Vice President
T: 0207 933 2516 | M: 07775429377 | E: firstname.lastname@example.org (opens a new window)
Laura Blundell, Account Manager
T: 0207 933 1217 | M: 07770 833 030 | E: email@example.com (opens a new window)