The use of electronic health records (EHR) should be guided by ethical principles that put patient care at the forefront, according to a position paper published by the American College of Physicians (ACP). EHRs can be an asset in delivery quality care, but may have unintended ethical consequences, the ACP said in a March 21 statement.
The position paper, “Ethical Implication of the Electronic Health Record: In the Service of the Patient,” published in the March issue of the Journal of General Internal Medicine, outlines three principles that should be applied to EHR use. EHRs should:
- Facilitate patient care, support the patient-physician relationship, and support the physician’s ethical duties
- Assist and improve clinical reasoning and diagnostic skills
- Maintain the privacy of protected health information
EHR use should not minimize or interfere with direct patient care, the ACP said, and features such as copy and paste should be used judiciously.