Cost and security concerns about bringing health care record keeping into the 21st century through electronic health records (EHR) have led to a call for an effective regulatory and oversight system from a pair of Case Western Reserve University professors. “Electronic information can be illicitly accessed from anywhere and transmitted across the globe quickly, cheaply, and with little risk of detection”, stated Sharona Hoffman, professor of law and bio-ethics at the School of Law. “EHR systems could transform health care in the United States, but their potential will be realized only with careful oversight.”
Sharona Hoffman, along with her husband, professor Andy Podgurski from the Case School of Engineering, are responsible for one of the first scholarly studies to assess the need for federal regulation of electronic health record systems. “Finding a Cure: The Case for Regulation and Oversight of Electronic Health Record Systems” – Harvard Journal of Law and Technology, forthcoming 2009 – comes on the heels of two previous publications by the two on security and privacy issues of EHRs and critiques of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Security Rule.
Most Americans would argue against an increase in government regulation, but as Sharona Hoffman believes, some regulation in an area like health care record systems is needed. “We regulate drugs, transportation, communication, food, and many other goods and services”, she stated. “A safe and effective transition to computerized medical records cannot be achieved without federal regulation.”