The National Coordinator For Health Information And Technology

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Meaningful Use and Health IT Introduction The charge of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information and Technology (ONC) is to coordinate “national efforts to implement and use the most advanced health information technology and the electronic exchange of health information … to improve health care” (Health and Human Services [HHS], n.d., website). However, sharing confidential information found in the electronic health record (EHR) for research and quality improvement potentiate legal, financial and ethical challenges. Summary of Legal, Financial, and Ethical Issues Health care agencies invest large sums of capital into EMR and in addition, rely upon reimbursement from the Health IT system (for example Medicare and Medicaid). According to Hurdle et al., (2007), the American Medical Informatics Association [AMIA] Code of Ethics, “patients have the right to know about the existence of electronic records containing personal biomedical data” (p. 391). In addition a patient has the right to expect that “biomedical data are maintained in a safe, reliable, secure, and confidential environment that is consistent with applicable law, local policies, and accepted informatics processing standards” (p. 392). The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) allows for the sharing of information for research purposes (Schonfeld et al., 2011). However, Croll (2010) asks, “If you don’t trust the systems being employed you cannot be sure that
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