Patient comments an e-record risk

UNVETTED input by patients into their personally controlled e-health records (PCEHR) may result in open criticism and defamation of doctors, experts have warned, raising a host of ethical and legal issues.

Speaking at the Medical Leadership conference in Sydney last week, Health Department secretary Jane Halton said patients could start applying for their own PCEHR from July 2012, with the system providing a section for the patients’ own notes and feedback. 

However, there is no detail yet about what type of information patients would be allowed to enter. 

MIPS medico-legal adviser Dr Rob Walters said any patient-created content would need to be vetted to ensure it did not contain defamatory material such as open criticism of a health practitioner’s standard of care.

“There would have to be some sort of administration and vetting to make sure inappropriate content wasn’t allowed to run,” Dr Walters