When going to the doctor, most patients assume that their medical records are kept private – which they are because of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Patients know that physicians and nurses have access to their charts, but they may not realize that many other people, including those who work in registration, billing, coding, health information management, and many more, may have access to a patient’s chart to perform their duties. Many patients might not realize that their private health information (PHI) can be legally used for retrospective chart reviews done by employees that didn’t have original contact with the patient.
In the latest issue of The Ochsner Journal, Dr. Joseph L Breault, discusses the Ethics of Chart Review Research in the quarterly Bioethics in Practice in Practice column. Dr. Breault answers if researchers can legally and ethically look at a patients’ medical records without their consent and what safeguards should be used to protect PHI in chart review research.
Brush up on your medical ethics knowledge on chart review and other important topics covered by the Bioethics in Practice column:
- The Value of Bioethics Consults – David E. Taylor, MD
- Assessment of Patients’ Capacity to Make Medical Decisions – Christopher M. Blais, MD
- Can Children Participate in Research? – Michael White
- Do You Remember the Hippocratic Oath? – William W. Pinsky
- Stem Cell Ethics – Deryk Jones
- Questioning Parents’ Medical Decisions – Vincent R. Adolph
- Ethics, Quality, Safety, and a Just Culture: The Link Is Evident – F. Ralph Dauterive and Armin Schubert
- Ethics of Chart Review Research – Joseph L. Breault