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Electronic Health Record Sharing System Bill gazetted

     The Government published in the Gazette today (April 17) the Electronic Health Record Sharing System Bill. The Bill seeks to formulate a legal framework for the establishment of the Electronic Health Record Sharing System, the sharing and using of data and information contained in the System, etc, to protect data privacy and system security.

     An electronic health record (eHR) is a record in electronic format containing health-related data or information of an individual. The proposed System will provide an efficient platform for health-care providers (e.g. hospitals and clinics) to upload and access an individual's eHR for health-care purposes, subject to the individual's consent.

     A Government spokesman said, "Given the sensitive nature of health records and the unique arrangement of data sharing, we reckon that it is necessary to formulate a new legislation to provide additional safeguards so as to instil public confidence in the System.

     "Subject to the passage of the Bill within this legislative session, we aim to commence operation of the System by the end of 2014 at the earliest, so as to enhance the continuity and efficiency of health-care services provided by the public and private sectors."

     Participation in eHR sharing is on a voluntary basis; health-care providers and recipients may choose to participate according to their needs. After obtaining the sharing consent from a health-care recipient, the health-care provider can upload and access the recipient's eHR, mainly including diagnosis, adverse reactions/allergies, medications, medical procedures, vaccination records and laboratory test results.

     The Secretary for Food and Health will appoint a public officer to be the eHR Commissioner to establish, operate, maintain and develop the System. The Commissioner will devise codes of practice to provide guidance on the sharing and use of the eHR and keep a register of prescribed health-care providers for public inspection.

     "We believe the implementation of eHR sharing will enhance public-private partnership in the health-care sector and help redress public-private imbalance. The introduction of the System will first bring the maximum benefits to senior citizens, children and people who frequently use public and private health-care services at the same time. In the long run, it will also help reduce errors in medical treatments and prescriptions as well as unnecessary duplication of tests," the spokesman said.

     The Bill will be introduced into the Legislative Council for scrutiny on April 30.

Ends/Thursday, April 17, 2014
Issued at HKT 11:30


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