Giving permission to share electronic medical records
Electronic exchange systems are being used more and more to share medical records. The use of computers enables us to share your medical records easily and securely with healthcare professionals in other hospitals or healthcare institutions. This may be the case, for example, if you are referred to another hospital, if your care provider intends to discuss your health situation at a ‘multidisciplinary consultation’, or if you wish to seek a second opinion.
All care providers providing treatment to you will then have rapid access to the same documents and images used by Erasmus MC. However, your medical records may only be shared using the electronic exchange system if you have given your express permission to do so. Without your consent, Erasmus MC is not authorized to share your medical records with third parties through the electronic exchange system.
Your practitioner must clearly explain what you are consenting to. You can then either consent to having your records shared electronically, or refuse consent. Your practitioner will make a note of your decision in your electronic patient record. If you wish, you can obtain a list of all the parties who have requested your data. You can change your mind at any time.
Obligation of confidentiality
Physicians, nurses, and other hospital staff need to have access to your medical records to be able to treat you. They are bound not to disclose information they receive about you in a professional capacity, and they are required to deal appropriately with the data in medical records and computer files. Only hospital staff directly involved in your treatment will have access to your medical records. Legislation and other regulations pertaining to confidentiality are observed in cases where there is contact with government authorities (e.g. the judiciary or police) and insurance companies, and in the event of doubt the interests of the patient always prevail.
Presence of others during treatment or examination
The patient also has a right to ‘spatial privacy’. In principle, the treatment will not be carried out in the presence of other individuals other than the care providers directly involved in the treatment, unless the patient has agreed to this. There are exceptions to this rule at university medical centers. The education and training function of a university medical center implies that several physicians or nurses may be present during your treatment. Your practitioner will only share relevant data with those inside and outside Erasmus MC involved in your treatment. Your data will be treated confidentially, and your practitioner will not discuss your records in the presence of third parties. The rules governing the use of personal data for scientific research are outlined below.
In some cases, it will be assumed that you have given permission to disclose or use data from your medical records. If you give permission for referral to another care provider, we assume that you also agree to the disclosure of the necessary data from your medical records. Data from your medical records will also be used to improve the quality of care. If you do not want us to use your data for these purposes, you can lodge an objection. This also applies to the use of your data or leftover tissue for research purposes.