Dr. David Bates: Framework for Using EMRs in Research May Take Several Years

Although using electronic medical records for public health research could lead to important advances in healthcare, the lack of regulation regarding the conditions and rules under which EMRs can be accessed is still being debated, according to a Boston Globe news report.

Use of EMRs in public health research could lead to discoveries such as potentially harmful drug interactions. Using EMRs in research can also provide other benefits, such as more mobility and the ability to track who accesses those records. However, EMRs are also more vulnerable to being lost or stolen.

Lawmakers and stakeholders will soon have to determine a balance between beneficial research and patient privacy, and working out a "framework" may take several years, said David Bates, MD, executive director of the Center for Patient Research and Practice at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston.

"If we don't get this right, we could end up with problems in either direction," he said in the report. "I'm actually more concerned about putting too many rules in place around privacy and then not getting some of the other benefits."

Read the news report about EMRs in public health.

Related Articles on EMRs:
South Carolina Among State Leaders Connecting Physicians' EHR Systems
OCR Proposes Rule on Accounting for Disclosures of Protected Health Information
Study: Despite Reduction in Prescribing Errors, Physicians Struggle in Switch to EHRs

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