23 Sep, 14 | by BMJ
Guest post by Irena Druce
Our article “Implementation of a Consent for Chart Review and Contact and its Impact in one Clinical Centre” focuses on issues regarding patient health information privacy and recruitment for medical research studies. Research studies are an integral part of the advancement of medical therapies; however, recruitment into research studies can be challenging. In Canada, the use of health information is governed by Personal Health Information Protection Act and at our institution a policy is in place that allows only those health professionals directly in the circle of care access to patient information to further protect patient’s privacy. This policy could have a potential negative effect on recruitment rates into research studies. Physicians and other clinical personnel often do not have the time to discuss ongoing research projects with patients as time is spent focusing on the patient’s medical issues. In addition, there is concern that if physicians use the information that they gather in a clinical encounter to recruit for research studies, it is equivalent to that physician sharing medical information with someone who does not have a right to it.
In light of these challenges, the Division of Metabolism and Endocrinology at the University of Ottawa implemented a consent for chart review and contact (CCRC). The CCRC is a document presented to a patient on their first meeting a new physician. The CCRC gives permission for the patient’s medical file to be reviewed by research personnel to determine whether a patient is eligible for a research study. If the patient meets the study criteria, the CCRC also grants permission for the patient to be contacted by research personnel to be provided with the details of the research study so they can decide if they wish to participate.