Introduction To support control of sexually transmitted infections (STI), British Columbia is exploring data sharing through a provincial electronic health record (EHR). Increased electronic data sharing among healthcare providers may be a barrier for clients of STI clinics where expectations of privacy and confidentiality are heightened.
Methods A survey to assess attitudes towards sharing of personal health information through a provincial EHR was conducted with a convenience sample of clients attending an STI clinic in Vancouver. Descriptive statistics and logistic regression were used to examine the association between the primary outcome variable, whether a client would be less likely to take the test for an STI or HIV if their clinic records were made part of a provincial EHR, and independent variables of interest.
Results A total of 1004 clients completed the survey, and 31% stated that they would be less likely to get tested for STI/HIV if their records were made part of a provincial EHR. Participants who were more likely to agree that they might avoid testing had the expectation that no other clinician would review their chart (adjusted OR (AOR)=3.55), or expected their records would not be shared beyond the clinic (AOR=2.81).
Discussion While most participants thought an EHR was acceptable, a large minority expressed that they might avoid testing if their records were made part of a provincial EHR. The introduction of a provincial EHR should be considered with caution in STI healthcare settings to ensure that screening, case detection and treatment are not negatively impacted.
- SEXUAL HEALTH
- HEALTH SERV RESEARCH
- SERVICE DELIVERY
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