The Electronic Health Record, Genetic Information, and Patient Privacy

      Nutritional genomics poses an interesting scenario for registered dietitians (RDs) with regard to client privacy. Clients interested in having their genetic test results interpreted in light of their diet and lifestyle habits may be on referral from a physician or may have ordered a nutritional genomic test independent of a physician—sometimes for reasons of privacy. As genomics is integrated into nutrition practice, RDs will increasingly confront situations in which they will have to be mindful of privacy laws and ethical obligations with respect to the bounds of personal privacy. In addition to conventional charting practices, electronic health records (EHRs) are increasingly being used to store client data, including genetic information. With the integration of genomics and EHRs into dietetics practice, RDs will need to be more acutely aware of the professional and legal obligations to protect client privacy.
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