Leslie Secrest, MD
Chairman of the Department of Psychiatry at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas
In our final post discussing the effect HIPAA policy and regulations have on both individuals living with a mood disorder and their families, we look at the implications of sharing elements of mental health treatment as part of the electronic health record (EHR).
Coordinating Patient Care in the HIPAA Era
Protecting patient privacy has long been a vital, but complicated priority for mental health care providers. In guarding our patients’ privacy, we aim to defend against prejudicial or discriminatory care. We balance those concerns with the realization that a patient’s health could be jeopardized if other providers do not have access to the full health picture. Sharing elements of a mental health record is, at times, in a patient’s best interest.
With the advent of electronic health records (EHR), it has become easier to control who has access to a person’s mental health information, and who does not. For instance, the EHR system that my hospital uses allows me to restrict mental health information to only the providers that I name. Certain keywords in the notes also trigger automatic privacy settings.