In this Roundtable Forum, a national group of panelists debates the benefits and challenges associated with Personal Health Records (PHRs) and Patient Portals. As health systems migrate towards electronic health records, personal health records have gained increasing prominence as software giants Microsoft and Google each released their respective PHRs. With all of this information being collected and shared in PHRs, privacy concerns have surfaced. Can Google and Microsoft be trusted with your most private information? Would the insurance and pharmaceutical industries not want access to confidential patient data? On the other hand, is the Personal Health Record a more logical and safer approach to the management of confidential information in comparison to the large Electronic Health Records systems that are being created at the provincial or regional levels?
In May 2009, Dr. Cavoukian and Dr. Peter G. Rossos from the University Health Network in Toronto, published a document entitled: Personal Health Information: A Practical Tool for Physicians Transitioning from Paper Based Records to Electronic Health Record". Download document (.pdf)
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- Dr. Ann Cavoukian - Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario
- Dr. Jay Mercer - Family Physician and Senior Physician Advisor, Canadian Medical Association, Ottawa, Ontario
- Sam Marafioti - Chief Information Officer at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto
- Dr. David Wiljer - Director of Knowledge Management and Innovation at the Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto
- Michael Martineau: What rights do patients have to access their own personal health data (in whatever format)? If this data is stored electronically do they have a right to request an electronic copy or electronic access? Could a private company providing a PHR service request access to a patient's personal health information (in whatever format) if authorized to do so by the patient?
- Nancy Gabor: It has been said that if physicians are forced to share EMR information with patients (via their PHR or otherwise), they are likely to document less information, or keep a separate record for internal use. Please comment on the issue of liability with regards to sharing EMR data with patients, and what you see as an appropriate solution to this issue.
- Eric Gombrich: A patient undergoing chemo for a confirmed lymphoma may want, and their physician may agree to allow them, to see the latest biopsy findings. However, the MD for a patient who is highly volatile with an undefined mass may not want that patient to see the biopsy results. How are we to control this? Is it through the PHR or the EMR?
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