Is waiver of consent for the use of health information for research acceptable to emergency department patients?

Is waiver of consent for the use of health information for research acceptable to emergency department patients?
Perspective
Chase Schultz‐Swarthfigure, Anne‐Maree Kelly
Emergency Medicine Australasia, 27 January 2021
Abstract
Some emergency medicine research, especially retrospective studies using medical records review, rely on waiver of consent for use of personal health information (PHI) contained in clinical records. This is a secondary use of PHI and waiver of consent raises ethical, legal and practical issues. Granting of a waiver of consent is often (but not always) approved by a human research ethics committee and requires separate but inter‐related consideration of the legal and ethical issues. In part, this involves a balancing of the public interest versus the risk to privacy and an evaluation of whether subjects would, mostly likely, have agreed to the use of their PHI had they been asked. To date, there are no robust data about whether use of PHI without consent for research would be acceptable to people who attend Australasian EDs for care.

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