Office Visits: Conversations for sale

February 15, 2008

In the name of medical research, a company called Verilogue will pay you for digitally recording your conversations with patients.

In the name of medical research, a company called Verilogue will pay you for digitally recording your conversations with patients. Verilogue, based in Fort Washington, PA, files away these interviews in its database and then sells them to pharmaceutical companies and other healthcare businesses after removing any information that would identify patients and doctors. The stated goal is to help such companies develop more-effective medicines and services, as well as communication tools for physicians.

Doctors in the Verilogue program record their conversations with patients two days a month, asking for permission beforehand. To participate, both doctor and patient must waive any right to access the recording afterwards, says Verilogue president and CEO Jeff Kozloff. That waiver is designed to keep the recordings out of malpractice proceedings. While he won't be precise, Kozloff says Verilogue compensates doctors for their time at the market rate for activities such as taking part in focus groups and completing online surveys.