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Frost & Sullivan: Medico Legal Implications Related to the Usage of Electronic Health Record

Friday, September 18, 2009 General News J E 4
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KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia, Aug. 21 The adoption of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) is essential for modern healthcare delivery systems if they are to gain greater efficiency, reduce overall healthcare costs and improve patient safety.

(Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20081117/FSLOGO)

In recent years, the acquisition of computer technologies by healthcare organizations has increased substantially with the spending, showing an upward tendency placing the industry as one to the major consumers of ICT products and services.

According to Frost & Sullivan estimates, the Health Information Technology (HIT) market (by revenue) in 2008, in APAC (Southeast Asia, China, Japan and Australia) was close to USD5.04 billion with an annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.8 percent from 2005-2008. Although the APAC HIT market represents currently only 2.1 percent of the total healthcare market, it is very likely that the figure could double if not triple that in the next 10 years.

Frost & Sullivan Senior Consultant, Dr. Pawel Suwinski says, "The HIT is here to stay with even more ubiquitous presence in all aspects of healthcare delivery systems. Moreover, it will be the main factor and driver in the transformation of healthcare industry towards translation care by providing common collaboration platform for information processing and exchange between related sciences and industries."

The aim of healthcare organization is to decrease the uncertainty of care delivery by providing controls to meet acceptable standards of care. This is due to the fact that medical practice environment has many variables (external & internal) that can affect the quality of care.

Suwinski further elaborates, "50 percent of the medical practice activities can be controlled. The remaining 50 percent depends solely on human judgment and cognitive functions that when unfavourable conditions are present could lead to substandard care. The implementation of HIT can improve the quality of care by providing better control (up to 80 percent). However, while decreasing the legal exposure of traditional medical practice it introduces legal implications related to the usage of HIT.

Medical liability (sometimes known as medical negligence or medical malpractice) is a special component of tort law. It governs the professional relationship between physicians and their patients. Medical liability concerns the duties of care expected between physicians and their patients in delivering health care. A physician's duty to his or her patients is to practice medicine which meets or exceeds the standard of care.

Hospital or healthcare delivery organization might become the subject of corporate negligence action if they violate the standard of care (through inadequate oversight of its staff physicians) by allowing an electronic health record or other technology of its choosing to be used in such a way to cause harm to patients.

Vicarious liability occurs when there is a design or other type of flaw in an electronic health record or other technology (eg: computerized physician order entry) which results in harm to patients even though the physicians or other caregivers who used it committed no negligence.

The privacy violation occurs when there is unauthorized access to patient's private information. The information leakage can be a result of misdirected information flow, user negligence or intentional security breach by a third party.

Security breached is recognized as unauthorized sharing of patient's private information. Inappropriate disclosure can happen in clinical setting when multiple copies of Electronic Health Record (EHR) persist even after destruction of original file is being accessed by unauthorized personnel.

Medical liability actions may arise from acts of commission which breach the standard of care and result in injury and damages to patients as discussed above. One type of act which physicians might commit concerning electronic health records that could involve them in litigation is to turn off the clinical alert systems designed to prevent unsafe treatments.

Physicians could also find themselves in legal hot water by failing to use diagnostic and treatment modalities suggested by the embedded best practice guidelines in certain types of electronic health records. Here there could be an act of omission contributing to patient injury.

Liability related to the use of EHR could be prevented by the selection of an appropriate healthcare information system. Some other preventative measures include proper training of staff to ensure efficient use of system, documenting all information with justification (whether or not care provided), and preventing any further alteration to this records without proper documentation.

About Frost & Sullivan

Frost & Sullivan, the Growth Partnership Company, enables clients to accelerate growth and achieve best in class positions in growth, innovation and leadership. The company's Growth Partnership Service provides the CEO and the CEO's Growth Team with disciplined research and best practice models to drive the generation, evaluation, and implementation of powerful growth strategies. Frost & Sullivan leverages over 45 years of experience in partnering with Global 1000 companies, emerging businesses and the investment community from more than 35 offices on six continents. To join our Growth Partnership, please visit http://www.frost.com.

Contact: Emmie Kaur Corporate Communications -Healthcare, Asia Pacific DID: +603 6204 5913 Email: emmie.kaur@frost.com Jasminder Kaur Corporate Communications -Healthcare, Asia Pacific DID: +65 6890 0937 Email: jkaur@frost.com

SOURCE Frost & Sullivan
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