Health Information Technology and Physicians’ Duty to Notify Patients of New Medical Developments
Physicians generally have had no legal or ethical duty to notify patients about new, patient-specific medical information or medical advances discovered after the patient's last episode of care. Notification has been viewed as impractical, burdensome, and not justified by gains in patient care. New developments in health information technology, however, have drastically altered the ratio of benefits to burdens in patient notification. In light of these developments, this article proposes that physicians should have a limited duty to notify patients about certain significant and relevant information, including adverse drug reactions, medical device recalls, and important changes in a physician's treatment recommendations.