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Pediatrics. 2011 Apr;127(4):e1042-7. doi: 10.1542/peds.2010-2184. Epub 2011 Mar 21.

Legal, ethical, and financial dilemmas in electronic health record adoption and use.

Author information

  • 1University of Texas Memorial Hermann Center for Healthcare Quality and Safety, University of Texas School of Biomedical Informatics at Houston, 6410 Fannin St, UTPB 1100.43, Houston, TX 77030, USA. dean.f.sittig@uth.tmc.edu

Abstract

Electronic health records (EHRs) facilitate several innovations capable of reforming health care. Despite their promise, many currently unanswered legal, ethical, and financial questions threaten the widespread adoption and use of EHRs. Key legal dilemmas that must be addressed in the near-term pertain to the extent of clinicians' responsibilities for reviewing the entire computer-accessible clinical synopsis from multiple clinicians and institutions, the liabilities posed by overriding clinical decision support warnings and alerts, and mechanisms for clinicians to publically report potential EHR safety issues. Ethical dilemmas that need additional discussion relate to opt-out provisions that exclude patients from electronic record storage, sale of deidentified patient data by EHR vendors, adolescent control of access to their data, and use of electronic data repositories to redesign the nation's health care delivery and payment mechanisms on the basis of statistical analyses. Finally, one overwhelming financial question is who should pay for EHR implementation because most users and current owners of these systems will not receive the majority of benefits. The authors recommend that key stakeholders begin discussing these issues in a national forum. These actions can help identify and prioritize solutions to the key legal, ethical, and financial dilemmas discussed, so that widespread, safe, effective, interoperable EHRs can help transform health care.

PMID:
21422090
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3065078
Free PMC Article
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