Thursday, October 07, 2004

Article: Electronic health records and privacy

Today's Ottawa Citizen has a long article on technology and medicine including a discussion of privacy aspects of electronic health records:

Px: IT Slowly but surely, health-oriented

Information Technology is improving the way Canadians get medical care:

"...'I actually think that Ontario is one of the furthest behind provinces in terms of the electronic health record,' says Closson. 'But the priorities are in place and things are starting to move. Ontario was one of the last provinces to develop its own privacy legislation and I think that has held us back.'

That legislation, the Health Information Protection Act, comes into effect on Nov. 1, 2004. It doesn't address specific technologies, but it does lay out the principles to which every technology must adhere. For example, it requires consent (implied or direct) from the patient for every person who sees the information. And it says that every patient has a right to access his or her own health information.

The office of the information and privacy commissioner of Ontario will be able to investigate complaints related to health information. Ken Anderson, assistant commissioner for privacy, says the office isn't opposed to new technologies, including the electronic health record. He points out that paper charts aren't always kept away from sight, and it's hard to know who has looked at them. So in many ways, digitizing records is secure networks will make them more private...."

If you find it interesting, print it out since Canada.Com expires its content very quickly.

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