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Research Law

Washington State

RCW 42.48.020
Access to personal records.
(1) A state agency may authorize or provide access to or provide copies of an individually identifiable personal record for research purposes if informed written consent for the disclosure has been given to the appropriate department secretary, or the president of the institution, as applicable, or his or her designee, by the person to whom the record pertains or, in the case of minors and legally incompetent adults, the person's legally authorized representative.
(2) A state agency may authorize or provide access to or provide copies of an individually identifiable personal record for research purposes without the informed consent of the person to whom the record pertains or the person's legally authorized representative, only if:

(a) The state agency adopts research review and approval rules including, but not limited to, the requirement that the appropriate department secretary, or the president of the institution, as applicable, appoint a standing human research review board competent to review research proposals as to ethical and scientific soundness; and the review board determines that the disclosure request has scientific merit and is of importance in terms of the agency's program concerns, that the research purposes cannot be reasonably accomplished without disclosure of the information in individually identifiable form and without waiver of the informed consent of the person to whom the record pertains or the person's legally authorized representative, that disclosure risks have been minimized, and that remaining risks are outweighed by anticipated health, safety, or scientific benefits; and

(b) The disclosure does not violate federal law or regulations; and

(c) The state agency negotiates with the research professional receiving the records or record information a written and legally binding confidentiality agreement prior to disclosure. The agreement shall:

(i) Establish specific safeguards to assure the continued confidentiality and security of individually identifiable records or record information;

(ii) Ensure that the research professional will report or publish research findings and conclusions in a manner that does not permit identification of the person whose record was used for the research. Final research reports or publications shall not include photographs or other visual representations contained in personal records;

(iii) Establish that the research professional will destroy the individual identifiers associated with the records or record information as soon as the purposes of the research project have been accomplished and notify the agency to this effect in writing;

(iv) Prohibit any subsequent disclosure of the records or record information in individually identifiable form except as provided in RCW 42.48.040; and

(v) Provide for the signature of the research professional, of any of the research professional's team members who require access to the information in identified form, and of the agency official authorized to approve disclosure of identifiable records or record information for research purposes.


[1985 c 334 § 2.]

 

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