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HCA 360 Topic 6 DQ 2
The privacy and security of patient information is not the only risk in a health care organization that arises from IT/IS use. A number of other risks also exist, both legal and ethical.
Confidentiality and security of patient information is a major concern for health care organizations. Health information technologies, however, pose a number of risks that are not related to confidentiality and security. These risks are legal, ethical and practice-related. Legal risks consist of breaches in professional or administrative standards, or in the law. Ethical risks arise from the use and misuse of health IT by organizations or individuals, while organizational risks happen when systems are not aligned with overall goals, or do not support business processes effectively.
In a health care organization, one of the other risks in using health information systems and technology arises from how health care professionals are governed by the principles of code of ethics, which require honesty and trustworthiness. The information recorded by the computer may not be accurate due to the inaccuracy of the data entered into the system. Computer system failure is another risk. For example, according to Code of Ethics for Nurses, Inc., well-being of patients takes priority over everything else (Code of Ethics for Nurses, Inc., 2010). The nurse is obligated to protect human dignity and rights even if it means breaking rules set by the hospital or organization. It is her duty to provide comfort and combat pain even if it means going against professional conduct codes that limit drug prescription processes when doing so (Code of Ethics for Nurses, Inc., 2010). Failure to do so is unethical.
There are three main risks to health care organizations that stem from the use of information systems and technology. Privacy of patient information is the more commonly known risk. The second, confidentiality, is a lesser-known risk and often confused with privacy. The third risk, a lack of vendor accountability, is legal risk resulting from an agreement between HHS and vendors.
Health Information Systems and Technologies (HIS/T) is the most important technology in health care that takes the patient information from initial collection to final utilization. Everyone in any medical facility uses HIS/T on a daily basis whether they are aware of it or not. The legal and ethical risks to using HIS/T are numerous and can cripple a practice, hospital, or any service organization. For example, improper use of HIS/T, such as not following Federal privacy rules (HIPAA), can subject a healthcare provider to penalties that include but are not limited to: loss of business license, fines, court cases and even civil litigation.
The health services industry faces an array of risks as a result of inappropriately released patient information. Potential legal and ethical risks include:
Health information systems, such as electronic and paper patient records, supply a wealth of opportunities into the vulnerable practices and procedures of health care organizations. A privilege breach could be as simple as a worker not properly disposing of records through shredding, or an employee viewing confidential information without authorization. Peer-to-peer file sharing creates access to sensitive patient information easily and more significantly.
This is a great question. Discuss ways in which patient privacy and confidentiality can be safeguarded as well as ways in which patient data can be used by other health professionals.
In addition to the privacy and security of confidential patient information, what are some other risks in a health care organization, both legal and ethical, that arise from using health IS/IT? Provide examples to support your response.