Health Policy

Governance for EMR Data Used for Secondary Purposes

September 8, 2020

The range and volume of personal health data collected and accessible through a variety of sources, including administrative claims, mobile devices, social media, and electronic medical record systems (EMRs), is rapidly growing. There is widespread agreement that EMR data is valuable for purposes beyond direct patient care and treatment.

While there are many benefits of using EMR data for secondary purposes, such as to enhance the provision of patient care, improve the effectiveness and efficiency of our health care system, advance clinical research, and support population and public health goals, there are also risks.

To mitigate risks and ensure public interests are protected, Doctors of BC calls for the establishment of appropriate and collaborative governance to ensure oversight, monitoring, and accountability, as it relates to the use of EMR data by external organizations for secondary purposes.

Such governance must reflect meaningful consideration of issues related to:

  • the intended patient, health care provider, and health system benefit;
  • appropriateness and transparency of access and use;
  • respect for patient and health care provider privacy and cultural safety; and,
  • health care provider perspectives, gained through ongoing provider engagement and participation.

For more information on these considerations, please see the full policy statement here.