Drug Treatment Swept Up in Push for Medical-Records Sharing

confidentialityChanges may be coming to confidentiality regulations for addiction treatment records:

Federal officials are proposing to ease 40-year-old restrictions on the release of information about patients’ drug- and alcohol-abuse treatment, so their electronic medical records can be more easily used and shared.

. . .

Officials at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, known as Samhsa, say those rules didn’t envision today’s highly integrated health-care systems that rely on the broad sharing of patients’ detailed electronic medical records to coordinate care. . . .

Many of those coordinated-care systems are finding the consent rules unworkable. . .

Only Congress can change the law itself, but Samhsa is considering revising regulations that define consent.

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2 responses to “Drug Treatment Swept Up in Push for Medical-Records Sharing

  1. chuck gehrke

    There was an hour long session at the recent ASAM Annual Med-Sci Conference. The problem according to the presenter in favor of changing the rules is this. Primary Care or other physicians caring for a patient with Addiction as a diagnosis currently cannot access this information nor can they access any info re: what medications the patient may be taking e.g. Methadone. Apparently there are reported deaths due to drug-drug interactions which could have been avoided if this information had been available. As I understood the presentation the interest is in making the history of addiction and associated medications as easily available as heart disease, diabetes, etc.. The opposing presenter presented the problem with the stigma attached to a diagnosis of addiction and the resulting possibility (?probability) of altered care. The audience responses and questions seemed to support the change. My suggestion was for medical schools to teach physicians to ask the correct questions and emphasize to the patient the importance of honesty and potential consequences of dishonesty. The same message should be a part of a treatment program’s teaching and teach the client/patient to advocate appropriately for themselves when it comes to receiving medical care.