Like many, we are trying to automate the release of some records to patients and parents/legal guardians. Unfortunately, MEDITECH (and every other vendor I know) do a poor job of tracking who has legal access records. There is no way to setup an electronic linkage to say one person (identified by a key field) has legal acess to another person’s records.
Even if that existed it really is not granular enough to manage the complexities or HIPAA and other privacy laws. For example, in Wisconsin, children 12 and older have additional rights relating to behavioral health, reporoductive health and HIV status. All of this is tracked manually because there is no way to manage this with the systems we have.
Ideally a system would allow a child’s record to be linked to legal guardians. Also, there would be the capability to create additional linkages to support a person’t legal right to provide access to their spouse.
As we make health information available to people over the web, parents will also want to see their children’s records. Unfortunately, we don’t have a systemized way of identifying their children. We know which babies were born to which mothers, but even that falls short since the child could have gone to an adoptive home.
Of course the computer system changes to link patients with legal guardian would need to be followed with process changes in the registration and medical records areas.