State privacy rules complicate EMR adoption

The heady task of computerizing medical records for hundreds of millions of Americans is made even tougher by a "patchwork" of state laws meant to protect patient privacy and confidentiality, two Los Angeles-based healthcare attorneys say.

Writing in the National Law Journal, Eric A. Klein and Christine C. Cohn make the case that a federal requirement to segregate particularly sensitive data like records of treatment for mental health or drug and alcohol addiction "creates uniquely complicated legal and practical problems" for designing interoperable EMRs.

State laws often conflict in this realm, the lawyers say, as a doctor in California could be liable for civil penalties for sharing HIV test results with another provider, while the same disclosure would be perfectly legal in New Mexico.

For details on how differing state laws may complicate EMR adoption:
- read the National Law Journal piece on the site