Melbourne Law School - Research Publications

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    Ethics guidelines use and Indigenous governance and participation in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health research: a national survey
    Burchill, LJ ; Kotevski, A ; Duke, D ; Ward, JE ; Prictor, M ; Lamb, KE ; Kennedy, M (WILEY, 2022-10-17)
    OBJECTIVES: To assess the use of NHMRC Indigenous research guidelines by Australian researchers and the degree of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander governance and participation in Indigenous health research. DESIGN, SETTING, PARTICIPANTS: Cross-sectional survey of people engaged in Indigenous health research in Australia, comprising respondents to an open invitation (social media posts in general and Indigenous health research networks) and authors of primary Indigenous health research publications (2015-2019) directly invited by email. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Reported use of NHMRC guidelines for Indigenous research; reported Indigenous governance and participation in Indigenous health research. RESULTS: Of 329 people who commenced the survey, 247 people (75%) provided responses to all questions, including 61 Indigenous researchers (25%) and 195 women (79%). The NHMRC guidelines were used "all the time" by 206 respondents (83%). Most respondents (205 of 247, 83%) reported that their research teams included Indigenous people, 139 reported dedicated Indigenous advisory boards (56%), 91 reported designated seats for Indigenous representatives on ethics committees (37%), and 43 reported Indigenous health research ethics committees (17%); each proportion was larger for respondents working in Indigenous community-controlled organisations than for those working elsewhere. More than half the respondents reported meaningful Indigenous participation during five of six research phases; the exception was data analysis (reported as apparent "none" or "some of the time" by 143 participants, 58%). CONCLUSIONS: Indigenous health research in Australia is largely informed by non-Indigenous world views, led by non-Indigenous people, and undertaken in non-Indigenous organisations. Re-orientation and investment are needed to give control of the framing, design, and conduct of Indigenous health research to Indigenous people.
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    'As Long as It's Used for Beneficial Things': An Investigation of non-Maori, Maori and Young People's Perceptions Regarding the Research use of the Aotearoa New Zealand Integrated Data Infrastructure (IDI)
    Thabrew, H ; Aljawahiri, N ; Kumar, H ; Bowden, N ; Milne, B ; Prictor, M ; Jordan, V ; Breedvelt, J ; Shepherd, T ; Hetrick, S (SAGE PUBLICATIONS INC, 2022-07-18)
    The Aotearoa New Zealand Integrated Data Infrastructure (IDI) is a national database containing a wide range of data about people and households. There is limited information about public views regarding its use for research.A qualitative study was undertaken to examine the views of forty individuals attending a large hospital in Auckland, including those of Māori ethnicity and young people. Semi-structured interview data were analysed using Braun and Clarke's method of thematic analysis.Seven key themes emerged: 1) Limited knowledge about medical data held in national databases; 2) Conditional support for the use of the IDI, including for research; 3) Concerns regarding the misuse of IDI data; 4) The importance of privacy; 5) Different views regarding consent for use of data for research; 6) Desire for access to personal data and the results of research; and 7) Concerns regarding third party and commercial use. Young people and those of Māori ethnicity were more wary of data misuse than others.Although there is reasonable support for the secondary use of public administrative data in the IDI for research, there is more work to be done to ensure ethical and culturally appropriate use of this data via improved consent privacy management processes and researcher training.
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    Where does responsibility lie? Analysing legal and regulatory responses to flawed clinical decision support systems when patients suffer harm
    PRICTOR, MEGAN (OXFORD UNIV PRESS, 2022-07-15)
    Clinical decision support systems (CDSSs) are digital healthcare information systems that apply algorithms to patient data to generate tailored recommendations. They are designed to support, but neither dictate nor execute, clinical decisions. CDSSs can introduce new risks, both by design features that heighten clinician burden and by outright errors that generate faulty recommendations for care. In the latter instance, if such unintercepted recommendations were to result in harm to the patient, novel legal questions emerge. Does legal responsibility for this harm lie with the clinician, the software developer or both? What is the clearest path to a remedy? Further, how does the Australian regulatory framework provide for oversight and redress? This article analyses the potential forms of legal redress in negligence, contract and under statutory consumer law, for the patient and the clinician. It also examines the Australian regulatory framework, specifically in relation to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and the Therapeutic Goods Administration, and reflects on the framework's adequacy to protect patients and clinicians. It finds that the regulatory approach and the contour of legal risk still centre upon the clinician's duty to exercise decisional autonomy and to intercept flawed recommendations generated by algorithmic errors within CDSSs.
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    Impact of Electronic Health Records on Information Practices in Mental Health Contexts: Scoping Review
    Kariotis, TC ; Prictor, M ; Chang, S ; Gray, K (JMIR PUBLICATIONS, INC, 2022-05-04)
    BACKGROUND: The adoption of electronic health records (EHRs) and electronic medical records (EMRs) has been slow in the mental health context, partly because of concerns regarding the collection of sensitive information, the standardization of mental health data, and the risk of negatively affecting therapeutic relationships. However, EHRs and EMRs are increasingly viewed as critical to improving information practices such as the documentation, use, and sharing of information and, more broadly, the quality of care provided. OBJECTIVE: This paper aims to undertake a scoping review to explore the impact of EHRs on information practices in mental health contexts and also explore how sensitive information, data standardization, and therapeutic relationships are managed when using EHRs in mental health contexts. METHODS: We considered a scoping review to be the most appropriate method for this review because of the relatively recent uptake of EHRs in mental health contexts. A comprehensive search of electronic databases was conducted with no date restrictions for articles that described the use of EHRs, EMRs, or associated systems in the mental health context. One of the authors reviewed all full texts, with 2 other authors each screening half of the full-text articles. The fourth author mediated the disagreements. Data regarding study characteristics were charted. A narrative and thematic synthesis approach was taken to analyze the included studies' results and address the research questions. RESULTS: The final review included 40 articles. The included studies were highly heterogeneous with a variety of study designs, objectives, and settings. Several themes and subthemes were identified that explored the impact of EHRs on information practices in the mental health context. EHRs improved the amount of information documented compared with paper. However, mental health-related information was regularly missing from EHRs, especially sensitive information. EHRs introduced more standardized and formalized documentation practices that raised issues because of the focus on narrative information in the mental health context. EHRs were found to disrupt information workflows in the mental health context, especially when they did not include appropriate templates or care plans. Usability issues also contributed to workflow concerns. Managing the documentation of sensitive information in EHRs was problematic; clinicians sometimes watered down sensitive information or chose to keep it in separate records. Concerningly, the included studies rarely involved service user perspectives. Furthermore, many studies provided limited information on the functionality or technical specifications of the EHR being used. CONCLUSIONS: We identified several areas in which work is needed to ensure that EHRs benefit clinicians and service users in the mental health context. As EHRs are increasingly considered critical for modern health systems, health care decision-makers should consider how EHRs can better reflect the complexity and sensitivity of information practices and workflows in the mental health context.
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    Consent for Data Processing under the General Data Protection Regulation: Could ‘Dynamic Consent’ be a Useful Tool for Researchers?
    Prictor, M ; Teare, H ; Bell, J ; Taylor, M ; Kaye, J (Henry Stewart Publishing, 2019)
    The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) sets the bar high for consent for the processing of personal data. In the UK, researchers have been directed to rely on legal bases other than consent for processing personal data for research purposes. Informed consent, nonetheless, and despite certain shortcomings, holds a central position in ethical research practice, as well as at common law, and in a range of other legislation dealing with research involving humans. This paper evaluates the place of informed consent in research following the GDPR’s implementation, arguing that a fresh approach to consent — specifically the concept known as ‘dynamic consent’ — could provide a way for researchers to meet the new European regulatory requirements for data processing while adhering to the highest ethical standards for research conduct. It analyses dynamic consent according to specific GDPR requirements and reflects on practical examples that could inform future implementation of the approach, while remaining aware of the need for further empirical research.
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    Clinical Decision Support Systems and Medico-Legal Liability in Recall and Treatment: A Fresh Examination
    Prictor, M ; Taylor, M ; Kaye, J ; Emery, J ; Nelson, C ; Manski-Nankervis, J (Thomson Reuters, 2020)
    Clinical decision support systems (CDSSs) provide a valuable tool for clinicians to aid in the care of patients with chronic disease. Various questions have emerged about their implications for the doctor’s legal duty of care to their patients, in terms of recognition of risk, recall, testing and treatment. In this article, through an analysis of Australian legislation and international case law, we address these questions, considering the potential impact of CDSSs on doctors’ liability in negligence. We conclude that the appropriate use of a well-designed CDSS should minimise, rather than heighten, doctor’s potential liability. It should support optimal patient care without diminishing the capacity of the doctor to make individualised decisions about recall, testing and treatment for each patient. We foreshadow that in the future doctors in Australia may have a duty to use available well-established software systems in patient care.
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    Digital Mega-Studies as a New Research Paradigm: Governing the Health Research of the Future
    Bell, J ; Prictor, M ; Davenport, L ; O'Brien, L ; Wake, M (SAGE Publications, 2021-09-09)
    'Digital Mega-Studies' are entirely or extensively digitised, longitudinal, population-scale initiatives, collecting, storing, and making available individual-level research data of different types and from multiple sources, shaped by technological developments and unforeseeable risks over time. The Australian 'Gen V' project exemplifies this new research paradigm. In 2019, we undertook a multidisciplinary, multi-stakeholder process to map Digital Mega-Studies' key characteristics, legal and governance challenges and likely solutions. We conducted large and small group processes within a one-day symposium and directed online synthesis and group prioritisation over subsequent weeks. We present our methods (including elicitation, affinity mapping and prioritisation processes) and findings, proposing six priority governance principles across three areas-data, participation, trust-to support future high-quality, large-scale digital research in health.
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    Towards optimising chronic kidney disease detection and management in primary care: Underlying theory and protocol for technology development using an Integrated Knowledge Translation approach
    Manski-Nankervis, J-A ; Alexander, K ; Biezen, R ; Jones, J ; Hunter, B ; Emery, J ; Lumsden, N ; Boyle, D ; Gunn, J ; McMorrow, R ; Prictor, M ; Taylor, M ; Hallinan, C ; Chondros, P ; Janus, E ; McIntosh, J ; Nelson, C (SAGE PUBLICATIONS INC, 2021-04-01)
    Worldwide, Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD), directly or indirectly, causes more than 2.4 million deaths annually with symptoms generally presenting late in the disease course. Clinical guidelines support the early identification and treatment of CKD to delay progression and improve clinical outcomes. This paper reports the protocol for the codesign, implementation and evaluation of a technological platform called Future Health Today (FHT), a software program that aims to optimise early detection and management of CKD in general practice. FHT aims to optimise clinical decision making and reduce practice variation by translating evidence into practice in real time and as a part of quality improvement activities. This protocol describes the co-design and plans for implementation and evaluation of FHT in two general practices invited to test the prototype over 12 months. Service design thinking has informed the design phase and mixed methods will evaluate outcomes following implementation of FHT. Through systematic application of co-design with service users, clinicians and digital technologists, FHT attempts to avoid the pitfalls of past studies that have failed to accommodate the complex requirements and dynamics that can arise between researchers and service users and improve chronic disease management through use of health information technology.
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    Insight or Intrusion? Correlating Routinely Collected Employee Data with Health Risk
    Taylor, M ; Prictor, M (MDPI AG, 2019)
    The volume, variety and velocity of data available to companies about their employees is already significant and likely to increase. Employers hold data about employees that could be used to explore the relationship between workplace practice in their organisation and risks to employee health. However, there is significant uncertainty about whether employers subject to English law are permitted to use this data for this purpose, and even whether they may be under a legal obligation to do so. In this article, the question of whether employers are legally permitted or legally obliged to use employee data to identify associations between workplace practice and risk to employee health is answered through an analysis of two spheres of English Law: data protection law, and health and safety law. The authors establish a hypothetical case study concerning a company that wishes to use employee data in this way, to illuminate a set of detailed legal issues. In particular, the question of whether a reasonable and prudent employer is under an obligation under health and safety law to use the data and analytic tools at his or her disposal to assess risk and inform his or her actions is considered. Also addressed is the question of whether such processing would satisfy the data protection law principles of “lawful, fair, and transparent” processing and that of “purpose limitation”. A complex picture emerges. The analysis reveals that data protection legislation may not support a trend towards the re-use of employee data to enhance workplace health and safety; nor is there currently a clear mandate that responsible employers use data in this way. The line between useful insight into workplace practices and intrusion into employees’ privacy remains blurred.