Editorial: Cost, disruption not only EHR concerns for docs

(In response to Joseph Conn’s “AHIC reviews, sends back EHR recommendations”) The American Health Information Community does not recognize that most physicians choose not to use electronic health-records systems because privacy violations are built into these systems and security risks are exponentially greater than in paper systems. Costs and the disruption of changing work patterns are not the only reasons the majority of American doctors don’t use EHRs.

Even though “smart” technology exists that can obtain patients’ electronic consents instantly, share only selected data, and then create complete audit trails of every data field or page disclosed, these electronic authorization and consent technologies are not widely used. Authorization or consent technologies can really put consumers back in control of access to their records and stop providers and data banks from deciding who can access and use EHRs.

Today, by far the vast majority of access to and uses of personal health information are secondary uses. Providers and data banks illegally and unethically steal, aggregate and sell patient data for uses patients would never agree to. The vast majority of EHRs have eliminated patients’ opportunities to grant meaningful legal contemporaneous informed consent.

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