Hiding PHI in a screencast

Jan 07, 2014


I'm fairly certain I know the answer to this question, but I thought I would ask anyway.

We are doing a course training people how to use a software application. This software application doesn't have a test system with fake patient information so our only access to the application contains Protected Health Information. Can you see where this question is going yet?

The SMEs are interested in doing a screencast for the course, but we can't publish anything like that with all the PHI it contains. In the past, I've just taken screenshots, blurred or covered up the PHI with a fake name and fake information, and made the application interactive with triggers so I could avoide screencasts,

The question: Is there a way to blur or cover up information in a screencast while the screen we're recording is getting clicked, scrolled through and so on. If so, how would that be done? I'm fairly certain this isn't possible. Storyline has some video editing capabilites, but I think this is probably too much.

Thanks for any help you can provide!


10 Replies
Gerry Wasiluk

Well, if you had access to something more powerful like Adobe Premiere, you could put "blurry objects" on separate timelines over your main video to obstruct patient information.  I suppose you try something similar with Replay but only two video timelines makes it tough.

I do think your screenshot approach may in some cases be the easiest.

Gerry Wasiluk


I've had mixed results when timing elements over a single video.  So, personally, I'd prefer to have it in the single, original video.

Also, if the user clicks on the video, they can start and stop it and this sometimes results in things (like objects over the video) getting out of whack timewise when playing things.  So I'd be sure to put a transparent shape over the main video to prevent that.

Mark Rieves

I implemented David Anderson's solution in a software course by layering masking objects above a single video in the time line.  I also experience the issue that Gerry Wasiluk describes above where the timing could be thrown off and the sensitive info revealed.  Even worse was when viewing the course on my iPhone (iOS6) -- the mask NEVER APPEARED and thus my SSN was exposed for all to see.  So if your users can access your content via a smart phone, be careful!!!  My solution was to export the video to a video editor, mask the info there, and then import back into Articulate.  The only downside of this (in addition to the extra dev time) was that the video quality was reduced (and I didn't have time to figure out why before delivering the course).

Bob S

Just for the record... While Premiere, Vegas and the rest are wonderful tools, you don't need fancy/brand name video editing software to do what you're asking about. Anything that allows video overlays and a blur function would work.

I might suggest AVS4YOU as an option. $59 gets you access to any/all of their cool little tools. While we have more powerful software available, I still often find myself using various AVS4YOU tools for little things such as the situation you describe.

Hope this helps and good luck.

Jonathon Miller

I know I'm late to the party here, but I have done a lot of software training involving PHI so I thought I would through my two bits in.

My preferred way to tackle this is to do the screencast using Camtasia. Camtasia is not a super expensive product. It allows you to capture and edit your screen cast all in one application. In the callouts sections there is a blur function. This allows you to anonymize the PHI and output a complete video. This avoid any time issues across platforms and will keep you away from a PHI violation. 

Happy to help with more info working with PHI in training scenarios. I've been doing it for a while now.

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