Electronic health records should support clinical research
One aspect of electronic care records which has received little attention is the potential benefit to clinical research. Electronic records could facilitate new interfaces between care and research environments, leading to great improvements in the scope and efficiency of research. Benefits range from systematically generating hypotheses for research to undertaking entire studies based only on electronic record data. Researchers and research managers must engage with electronic record initiatives to realize these benefits. Clinicians and patients must have confidence in the consent, confidentiality and security arrangements for the uses of secondary data. Provided that such initiatives establish adequate information governance arrangements, within a clear ethical framework, innovative clinical research should flourish. Major benefits to patient care could ensue given sufficient development of the care-research interface via electronic records.