Health Information Exchange & Interoperability Resource Sets

Sensitive Information and the Electronic Patient Record

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Sensitive Information and the Electronic Patient Record

HITEQ Center, June 2023

With nearly 100% of community health centers utilizing electronic health records (EHR) to care for patients, focus has pivoted from implementation and new workflow development to enhancement in order to drive value and reflect patient needs and population trends. EHR technology presents potential opportunities and significant constraints. Providers frequently document and share potentially sensitive information in the EHR, such as risk for intimate partner violence (IPV), consistent offers of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), or patient sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI). Capturing such information can be immensely helpful in providing care tailored to individuals’ needs, but additionally challenges teams to develop workflows that keep the data private rather than risk harm to patients through improper or unintended disclosure.

This brief resource describes the risks and benefits of differing strategies to capture and steward sensitive information while emphasizing privacy and accessibility. These examples are shared to facilitate health center teams in developing workflows that are most appropriate for their settings and patient populations.

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Documents to download

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Acknowledgements

This resource collection was compiled by the HITEQ staff with portions contributed by Mr. Dan Tuteur, the Colorado RHIO, OCHIN, and the Sequoia Project.

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