Objectives: To clarify health record background information in the Asia-Pacific region, for planning and evaluation of medical information systems. Methods: The survey was carried out in the summer of 2009. Of the 14 APAMI (Asia-Pacific Association for Medical Informatics) delegates 12 responded which were Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Taiwan. Results: English is used for records and education in Australia, Hong Kong, India, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore and Taiwan. Most of the countries/regions are British Commonwealth. Nine out of 12 delegates responded that the second purpose of medical records was for the billing of medical services. Seven out of nine responders to this question answered that the second purpose of EHR (Electronic Health Records) was healthcare cost cutting. In Singapore, a versatile resident ID is used which can be applied to a variety of uses. Seven other regions have resident IDs which are used for a varying range of purposes. Regarding healthcare ID, resident ID is simply used as healthcare ID in Hong Kong, Singapore and Thailand. In most cases, disclosure of medical data with patient's name identified is allowed only for the purpose of disease control within a legal framework and for disclosure to the patient and referred doctors. Secondary use of medical information with the patient's identification anonymized is usually allowed in particular cases for specific purposes. Conclusion: This survey on the health record background information has yielded the above mentioned results. This information contributes to the planning and evaluation of medical information systems in the Asia-Pacific region.
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