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Personal Health Records - Data Overload, Legal Liability Concerns Doctors

Posted Oct 30 2008 3:21pm

Personal Health Records are becoming increasingly popular in the US as a way for patients to more effectively manage their own health status. However this article published in Modern Healthcare Online points to concerns of physicians regarding workload and legal liability. As healthcare information became more accessible via the Internet, it has not been uncommon for a patient to arrive in their physician's office with one or more printed articles for review with the physician. In a healthcare system that is already time pressured, adding in additional workload relating to personal health records may be too much for many physicians.

"Like a recurring dream about having to take a test they didn't study for, some physicians view the idea of patients with electronic personal-health records as their own personal nightmare.

Visions of patients handing over a computer disk containing years' worth of blood-pressure readings taken every four hours along with random recollections of rashes and muscle strains that physicians are required to somehow make sense of and memorize are followed by thoughts of being sued because there was a kernel of important information missed in the deluge.

"That's why folks like me are terrified of personal health records and what patients will bring to us," internist Michael Zaroukian said earlier this year during a panel discussion at the Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise Connectathon, an event that brings electronic medical-record vendors together to solve interoperability problems (and sponsored by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, the Radiological Society of North America and the American College of Cardiology). Link: Modern Healthcare Online.

What do you think of personal health records? Where is the maximum benefit for patients and physicians? Have you had any experiences with patients using personal health records? What are the risks from a physician's perspective?

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