Who owns the patient data?

If you are a healthcare provider, it is important to realize that you own the patient data. Of course the patient has ownership to their own data too. But as a provider you have the extra burden of keeping your patients data secure, and retaining the history for five years or more.

Typically if you own something, you would expect that you can take it with you wherever you go. But research has shown that this is becoming increasingly difficult with EHR data – especially when you decide to change your EHR vendor. Each EHR software has a proprietary program running it; simply taking a database backup is of no use because the proprietary data can never be extracted from these backups. To top it off, now a days many EHRs are hosted in the cloud. Any dispute between the provider and the EHR vendor – even a simple delay in payment of one month’s subscription – has the risk of the EHR vendor locking out the provider from their own patient data.

During EHR implementation, make sure you are planning for data conversion; read more about this topic here (Data Conversion During an EHR Implementation)

 

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