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Videorecording in Clinical Research: Mapping the Ethical Terrain

Broyles, Lauren M.; Tate, Judith A.; Happ, Mary Beth

doi: 10.1097/01.NNR.0000280658.81136.e4

Background: Videography is used increasingly for data collection in clinical research; however, addressing related ethical issues and obtaining institutional review board approval to use videography are often significant and daunting challenges for investigators. Guidelines and specific strategies are extremely limited in the literature. To protect the interests of videorecorded patient and clinician research participants, several ethical issues deserve thoughtful consideration and planning: informed consent, confidentiality and privacy, and participant burden and safety.

Approach: The Study of Patient-Nurse Effectiveness with Assisted Communication Strategies is used to illustrate how these ethical issues can be managed in a clinical trial. Excerpts from informed consent documents are included, and special attention is given to the critical care environment, vulnerable patient populations, and clinicians as participants.

Results: Ethical issues related to the use of videography for patient-oriented research in the acute care hospital setting are clarified, and specific examples of how these issues can be addressed are provided.

Discussion: Ethical issues related to using videorecording in acute care research can be adequately addressed through existing universal human subjects protection strategies when the precise nature of the ethical issues is defined clearly.

Lauren M. Broyles, BSN, BA, RN, is Doctoral Student and Predoctoral Fellow, Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NINR), School of Nursing; and MA Student, Bioethics, Center for Bioethics and Health Law; Judith A. Tate, MSN, RN, is Project Director, Department of Acute and Tertiary Care, School of Nursing; and Mary Beth Happ, PhD, RN, is Associate Professor, Department of Acute and Tertiary Care, School of Nursing, and Center for Bioethics and Health Law (secondary appointment), University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Accepted for publication July 27, 2007.

This study was funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (5R01 HD043988; "Improving Communication With Nonspeaking ICU patients").

Presented in part at the National Congress on the State of the Science in Nursing Research, Washington, DC, October 12, 2006.

Corresponding author: Lauren M. Broyles, BSN, BA, RN, School of Nursing, University of Pittsburgh, 314 Victoria Building, 3500 Victoria Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15261 (e-mail:

© 2008 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.