Just in the Nick of Time. Medical Records Saved from the Shredder

June 24, 2011
If we needed one more example illustrating our need for an EHR this is it. The Boston Globe reported on the near destruction of all patient records

If we needed one more example illustrating our need for an EHR this is it. The Boston Globe reported on the near destruction of all patient records from a physician office that closed abruptly. A storage company had the records scheduled for destruction when EmersonHospital, which had no affiliation with the physician’s practice, stepped in to save them.

Amazingly, the incident exposed a gap in State law regarding medical records. There was no legislation regarding patient notification about abandoned charts. State officials claimed not to have the authority, budget or storage space for the threatened records. They recommended that Emerson get a court order to take possession of the files.

To the critics who obsess about the risk of electronic information storage let this be a reminder that the good old days were not that good. Of course we need to do everything we can to protect the privacy of the EHR, but staying put is not a great option.

In every age 'the good old days' were a myth. No one ever thought they were good at the time. For every age has consisted of crises that seemed intolerable to the people who lived through them.

Brooks Atkinson (1894 - 1984), Once Around the Sun (1951)

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