EMR and the new Electronic Discovery Civil Rule
How to manage, retain and disclose health information in the new world of electronic medical records.
Traditionally, legal proceedings required hospitals to pull together all the photocopies, printouts and other paper-based documents necessary during the pretrial or discovery phase when information exchange between parties is required.
With the growing use of electronic health records (EHRs), litigators will be seeking an increased amount of information that can be obtained from e-mail messages, databases, software applications, computer logs, and metadata. The advent of electronic discovery (e-discovery) is here and will become increasingly important - complementing traditional, paper-based methods. Alpha Systems has assisted hospital’s counsel with their electronic data, specifically in matters involving Medicare outliers and other legal proceedings. An effective strategy for reviewing e-discovery is the use of technology that makes the review of electronic data efficient and accurate. Using Alpha Systems’ data review tool, E-Direct, attorneys can review electronically stored information (as well as paper) in a format that ensures compliance with all federal, state and local discovery guidelines.
Reflecting this trend, the Supreme Court approved amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, which took effect December 1, 2006. While this applies currently to Federal cases, many expect it will also set standards for e-discovery in state and local jurisdictions. It’s not a matter of if, but when for healthcare.
HIM professionals will have to implement new processes for the management, retention and disclosure of health information and how electronic records are managed within healthcare organizations.