Personal health records and the law

The October edition of the Health Lawyers News, a publication of the American Health Lawyers Association (AHLA), contains an article I co-authored with Jud DeLoss, a principal in the law firm of Gray Plant Mooty, who blogs at Minnesota Health IT. On the eve of the Health 2.0 Conference this week the article provides a look at some of the legal issues around PHRs.

The article, The Rise of the Personal Health Record: Panacea or Pitfall for Health Information (pdf version),
provides an introductory background on the changing world of PHRs,
highlights Health 2.0 and covers some of the legal implications and
compliance issues for PHRs. We are working on a longer and more
detailed analysis that will be turned into a Member Briefing for the Health Information and Technology Practice Group.
I would appreciate your posting a comment on topics or legal
implications that we might consider covering in the full Member

If you are a health lawyer, law student interested in
health law or otherwise interested in the the legal aspects of the
health care industry and not already a member of AHLA
— think about joining.

Bob Coffield is a health care lawyer practicing in Charleston, West Virginia in the law firm of Flaherty, Sensabaugh & Bonasso, PLLC who blogs on health care legal issues at Health Care Law Blog.

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4 replies »

  1. Personal Health Records provides benefits such as storing and sharing of patients’ health records ensuring the privacy and confidentiality of patients’ information. This wipes out all the errors, associated with the conventional paper based system. It collects and stores the patients’ health information data from all the sources like hospitals, laboratories, healthcare professionals, pharmacies and insurance companies etc.

  2. My company is doing something that may be of interest to this group. We’re hosting a town hall meeting about healthcare reform and electronic health records. The meeting is scheduled for Dec. 1 at Seattle’s Town Hall. For more information go to healthcaretownhall.com.

  3. Good start on exploring this area! As you pursue a deeper analysis, please consider covering the following:
    1) Obligations to provide PHI to the subject of the record in form requested (e.g. a standard PHR form) under the HIPAA Privacy Rule.
    2) The trend in draft federal legislation to further compel provision of PHI to the patient (e.g. short time limits on responding to the request to provide the PHI in the TRUST HIT Act draft).
    3) The role of lay caregivers in accessing PHRs of those for whom they provide care (47M people are lay caregivers now; so this is a big potential population).
    4) Reliance (during litigation) on use of digital signature to authenticate the origins of some PHI housed in PHRs. (This may be one way to reduce the concern about patients editing information in their PHRs without detection.)
    – Thanks for pursuing this line of inquiry!

  4. Great article. It is important to learn the relationship of our health records with the law. Those are nice resources. Keep them coming! thanks!