Tuesday, January 18, 2005

UK patients can opt-out from electronic health records

I'm aware of a number of government-sponsored electronic health records programs, from Nova Scotia to Alberta and further afield. The one being planned and implemented in the United Kingdom is the first that I know of that will allow individuals to choose to not be included:

Guardian Unlimited | The Guardian | Patients can stay off NHS database:

"NHS patients are to be asked whether they want intimate details of their personal medical history to be included in a new national electronic database that can be accessed by GPs, paramedics and hospital staff throughout England.

Those worried the information could be abused will be entitled to have it removed from the system or placed in an electronic 'sealed envelope', to be opened only in a dire emergency, John Hutton, the health minister, said yesterday.

However, patients restricting access to their records in this way ran the risk of clinical staff making mistakes in an emergency through lack of relevant information about previous medical conditions or allergic reactions. "

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