As a result of changing practices, the Supreme Court approved amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure on April 13, 2006, to address the unique aspects of electronic discovery. The amendments will take effect December 1, 2006, and begin to change HIM practices over time, specifically the management, retention, and disclosure of health information.

Although this rule applies to federal cases, it is expected to set the standard for e-discovery in state and local jurisdictions over time. The implications of these new rules will have far-reaching impact into how electronic records are managed within healthcare organizations.