Faculty members at the Indiana University Center for Bioethics at IU School of Medicine have a long-standing interest in the ethical issues associated with electronic health records (EHRs). These issues include access to records; patients’ understanding of their health information; and the potential for patients to have some level of granular control over their health and medical records. This control allows people to restrict access to some portion of their record to at least some personnel involved in their clinical care.
The IU Center for Bioethics participated in a project (2011-13) exploring the issue of granular control. In August 2012, the center finalized a “Points to Consider” document—an ethics framework—to guide informaticists and medical personnel involved in designing and implementing electronic health records systems as they encounter the inevitable ethical quandaries that arise.
Some of the ethical issues that arise in the context of electronic health records are detailed here through source materials for further reading. These issues focus primarily on patient privacy and medical confidentiality.