Oral Presentation Australasian Association of Bioethics & Health Law and New Zealand Bioethics Conference

Ethico-Legal Considerations for an Integrated Electronic Health Record in the Australian Mental Health System.  (1051)

Timothy Kariotis 1 , Kathleen Gray 2 , Shanton Chang 1 , Megan Prictor 3
  1. School of Computing and Information Systems, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria , Australia
  2. Health and Biomedical Informatics Centre, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  3. Melbourne Law School, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

People with complex mental health conditions may access many services across the health, mental health and social care systems (1). To provide high-quality care, it is essential that these services share information and collaborate; though in reality information sharing is limited in part due to privacy concerns (2). The need for greater information sharing is also occurring at a time of increasing digitisation of our health system. A 2014 review into Australia’s mental health system by the National Mental Health Commission proposed the idea of a care plan that would be contained within an electronic health record accessible by all of the services that people with complex mental illness may access (2). This aligns with the idea of an integrated electronic health record (iEHR), which has been conceptualised in the literature as a record that is longitudinal, prospective, comprehensive, and person-centred (3).

This work aims to map the ethico-legal privacy considerations for an iEHR in Australian mental health contexts. To do this, we will undertake an analysis of key legal and normative documents at federal, state, professional, and organisational levels in Australia. This analysis will uncover key legal and ethical themes regarding information privacy, which will be used to frame considerations for an all-services iEHR in Australia.

Early findings point to a lack of clarity around how the ethical and legal norms regarding sharing information with other care providers will be applied in the case of an iEHR which changes the time-frame in which information is shared and received. 

  1. Lee, Crowther, Keating, & Kulkarni. (2013). What is needed to deliver collaborative care to address comorbidity more effectively for adults with a severe mental illness? Aust NZ J Psychiatry, 47. doi:10.1177/0004867412463975
  2. National Mental Health Commission. (2014). The National Review of Mental Health Programmes and Services. Retrieved from http://www.mentalhealthcommission.gov.au/our-reports/contributing-lives,-thriving-communities-review-of-mental-health-programmes-and-services.aspx
  3. Garde, Knaup, Hovenga, & Heard. (2007). Towards semantic interoperability for electronic health records. Methods of Information in Medicine, 46(03), 332-343. doi:10.1160/ME5001