As electronic information takes over paper records, the courts are shifting their rules for legal discovery. Already, the U.S. Supreme Court has approved rules on what e-documents must be produced, when and how, and states are sure to follow the high court's lead.
Under the federal rules, all electronically stored data are equally discoverable. However, during the discovery process, both sides of a lawsuit will meet to determine the extent of the paper and electronic information that will be exchanged-a process that helps keep requests from becoming overly broad or costly. Moreover, the court will decide what records the physician must produce.
American Medical News (7/2/2007) asked the experts what physicians need to know about producing electronic information as part of the discovery process. Here's what it found out: