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JOURNAL ARTICLE

A practical guideline for identifying research intent with projects that collect private, identifiable health information

Robert J Amdur, Marjorie A Speers
American Journal of Clinical Oncology 2003, 26 (3): e7-12
12796610
Radiation oncologists frequently engage in activities that involve the collection and analysis of data from medical records. Access to health information is an ethical issue because, if not done according to appropriate guidelines, it constitutes an invasion of privacy or breach in confidentiality. To protect patients for the social harm that may result from medical record review, our society has established laws and regulations that apply to projects that require medical record review. A major branch point in the guidelines for such projects is whether private information will be collected for research or nonresearch purposes. However, a problem with discussing privacy protection in terms of a research versus nonresearch model is that it is difficult to make this distinction for many kinds of projects. The purpose of this paper is to establish a practical guideline that can be used to decide if a project that involves analysis of private, identifiable medical information should be considered research from the regulatory standpoint.

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