At its annual House of Delegates meeting in Chicago this week, the American Medical Association debated several health information technology topics and decided it was too early to call on Congress to pass legislation regulating still-evolving and little-used personal health records. However, it did approve a policy allowing physicians to review only information they believe is relevant in a patient's PHR, rather than being obliged to pore through an individual's entire health history.
The AMA also recommends that any entry in a PHR include a time stamp and sourcing information.
“To the extent that the physician chooses to review a PHR, the physician retains the right to exercise professional judgment in determining the clinical relevance of information contained within a PHR,” the board of trustees report on PHRs stated. “The physician is responsible only for the use of PHR data that the physician has actively chosen to incorporate into the patient-physician relationship.”
Some physicians have expressed concern
that patients would provide them with PHRs containing endless volumes of unorganized data and that they would be legally obligated to review it all.
A package of resolutions seeking regulation of online physician profiles
was condensed, and delegates referred the issue back to the board of trustees for further review and a ruling. Among the actions being sought is a directive that the AMA “seek legislation that changes existing Internet laws to better protect physicians from cyberlibel, cyberslander, cyberbullying and the dissemination of Internet misinformation.”
The measure could ask the AMA to “work to secure legislation that would require that the websites purporting to offer evaluations of physicians state prominently on their websites whether or not they are officially endorsed, approved or sanctioned by any medical regulatory agency or authority or organized medical association, including a state medical licensing agency, state department of health or medical board, and whether or not they are a for-profit independent business and have or have not substantiated the authenticity of individuals completing their surveys.”
In another item, delegates approved a resolution proposed by Kentucky physicians directing the AMA to address restrictions that impede Veterans Affairs Department physicians and pharmacists from contributing information to state-run prescription-monitoring programs. The Kentucky delegation to the House of Delegates said the VA stopped participating in the Kentucky program and those in other states last year.
A VA representative was unavailable for comment. Representatives in the Drug Enforcement Administration were unable to provide any information.
Prescription-monitoring proponents say a database that tracks narcotic prescriptions helps prevent patients from “doctor shopping” for multiple painkiller prescriptions.