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Br Med J (Clin Res Ed). 1986 Jan 25;292(6515):254-6.

Patients' access to personal health information.



Four physicians comment on an issue paper from the Department of Health and Social Security about provisions of the Data Protection Act that would permit patient access to computerized health records in 1987 unless the Secretary of State rules otherwise. S. Jenkins, a general practitioner, fears that patient access would refocus the record on the doctor's best interests rather than the patient's. C.J. Dickinson, a medical professor, welcomes access as fostering trust. M.A. Heasman, a health administrator, opposes unrestricted access but urges physicians to reveal more to patients. B.W. Ellis, a consultant surgeon, holds that patients have a right to see their records, subject to physician discretion in disclosing information to the patient's general practitioner or other third party. An interprofessional working group's "Statement on subject access to personal health information" rejects unrestricted access lest it inhibit health professionals from recording sensitive data.

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