Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Web Petition: Transparency and Openness in Electronic Patient Records and Other Healthcare Information Technology Systems

I have created a new Web petition "Transparency and Openness in Electronic Patient Records and Other Healthcare Information Technology Systems."

It is at WEBPETITIONS.COM at this link: http://www.webpetitions.com/cgi-bin/print_petition.cgi?99504454

Aimed at clinicians, hospital governance personnel and other healthcare stakeholders including patients, the petition states:

We, the undersigned, believe in transparency, accuracy, and accountability in scientific research, especially in matters related to healthcare.

We believe contractual nondisclosure clauses [1] that prohibit or restrain unfettered disclosure and dissemination of information about healthcare information technology problems related to bugs, design defects, suboptimal user interfaces, other factors that can adversely affect care, and the adverse events and near accidents these problems cause, are unethical.

We believe that patients and clinicians have a right to knowledge of healthcare information technology problems and defects that can distract clinicians and/or reduce clinician effectiveness and productivity. We also believe that hospital governance personnel have the fiduciary responsibility as well as obligation under Joint Commission safety standards to protect patients, clinicians and others working within and for their organizations from the potential consequences of healthcare information technology problems [2].

We believe that only through transparency about healthcare information technology can medical ethics be maintained, the rights of patients to the best possible care be protected and medical science advanced.

Therefore, we call for such clauses to be refused by governance bodies, vendors of healthcare information technology to refrain from including such clauses in their contracts, and the U.S. Congress to prohibit nondisclosure clauses related to medical devices and healthcare information technology.

Furthermore, retaliatory actions against those who in good faith report such matters or incidents should be prohibited.

[1] Koppel R, Kreda D. Health Care Information Technology Vendors' "Hold Harmless" Clause: Implications for Patients and Clinicians, JAMA. 2009;301(12):1276-1278.

[2] Silverstein S. "Health Care Information Technology, Hospital Responsibilities, and Joint Commission Standards." Letter to the Editor, JAMA. 2009; 302: 382.

The signed petition will be sent to the U.S. Senate Finance Committee (currently investigating healthcare IT), the Secretary of HHS, the Director of AHRQ, the Director of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT, and the President of the Joint Commission.

Please sign at the WEBPETITIONS.COM link http://www.webpetitions.com/cgi-bin/print_petition.cgi?99504454, and spread the word.

-- SS

Addendum: as an example of the problems these nondisclosure clauses can create, see my post "We are unable to share documents relating to problematic EHR's as our contract with Cerner includes a confidentiality clause."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Finally, there is an opportunity to express the dissatisfaction with HIT.

Let your thoughts be known in the comment section of the petition.