Data-Driven Human Rights: Using the Electronic Health Record to Promote Human Rights in Jail

The electronic health record (EHR) is a commonplace innovation designed to promote efficiency, quality and continuity of health services. In the New York City jail system, we implemented an EHR across 12 jails between 2008 and 2011. During the same time, our work increasingly focused on the importance of human rights as an essential element to the provision of medical and mental health care for our patients. Consequently, we made major modifications to the EHR to allow for better surveillance of vulnerable populations and enable reporting and analysis of patterns of abuse, neglect and other patient concerns related to human rights. These modifications have improved our ability to find and care for patients injured in jail and those with mental health exacerbations. More work is needed, however, to optimize the potential of the EHR as a tool to promote human rights among patients in jail.

 
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