Security of Health Care Records



Course Instructor


Security of Health Care Records

            Technology has resulted in many changes in the sector of healthcare. The contemporary age of digital communication has influenced aspects of healthcare, and resulted in new concerns with regard to privacy and confidentiality. This mainly affects the management and storage of data in healthcare, whereby due to the new technological tools, nurses have been faced with different moral dilemmas. Nonetheless, the healthcare practitioners need to maintain ethics and make the right decisions in situations they are faced with moral dilemmas, especially with regard to management of hospital data (McGonigle and Mastrian 70).

In most healthcare facilities I am familiar with, patients’ health records are stored electronically on computers. This information in the database is stored digitally and therefore, it is possible to transfer this information to other health providers, in case a patient is transferred. Other members of the staff, who are authorized to access this information, can also access this it. This is because the authorized staff members have access to the hospital’s electronic health records database, and therefore, can access it from anywhere, provided they log into the hospital system. The electronic health information is protected by allowing access to only the authorized staff members, and not all staff. Most hospitals give a private code to the authorized individuals, so that the unauthorized individuals cannot log into the electronic health information database (Rothstein 9).

Since nurses are the ones responsible for patient data, these are charged with ensuring that they protect the confidentiality, privacy, and autonomy rights of the patients when dealing with their personal data. There are different ways through which they can ensure this. First, nurses should avoid disclosing patients’ information to third parties. These include patients’ relatives, other staff members, health insurance firms, among others. Additionally, nurses should not demand for a full health record from the patients, instead, only the useful information should be obtained. When disposing off some patient information that is no longer in use, nurses should ensure they completely destroy the files, or delete them from the database, in a manner that these cannot be traced in future. Most importantly, access to these records should be individual-based, such that each individual has their own secret code, in order to promote individual accountability in case of any data mishandling (Brown 40).

Today, communication tools have become smaller and advanced. These are expected to become even better in future, and this means new privacy and security concerns in healthcare, with regard to patient data management. These electronic devices are easy to get stolen or they can as well be lost. If these bear the health records of patients, then it is possible that this information will get in the hands of third parties. In addition, the presence of high-tech hackers also jeopardizes the confidentiality of these electronic records. With advanced knowledge, hackers might hack into the computers and if interested in this information, they can easily get access to it, especially if the computer is not well protected from hacking.

Deficiencies in healthcare today are partly attributed to reliance on archaic paper-based management of data. Therefore, strategies should be adopted to ensure that health information technology becomes part of the healthcare culture. Today, there are disparities in the way HIT is adopted by different healthcare facilities in various regions. To bridge this gap, both the government and healthcare providers must collaborate to ensure HIT is adopted evenly. First, new entities should be introduced in healthcare to deal with matters of HIT. These should set new policies and directions, which will ensure the adoption of HIT by all healthcare facilities. Additionally, changes should be made in the regulations governing HIT in healthcare facilities. Strict regulations and policies, based on finances, have made healthcare providers shy from adopting HIT. Finally, setting up a national health information network will boost the adoption of HIT, as this will connect different parts of the country (Hoffman and Podgurski 430).

Works Cited

Brown, Bob. (2009a). Improving the privacy and security of personal health records. Journal of

Health Care Compliance, 11(2), 39–40, 68. 2009. Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.

Hoffman, Sharona and Podgurski, Andy. Meaningful use and certification of health information

technology: What about safety? Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics, 39(3), 425–436.
Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.

McGonigle, Dee and Mastrian, Kathleen. Nursing informatics and the foundation of

knowledge (2nd ed.). Burlington, MA: Jones and Bartlett Learning, 2012.

Rothstein, Mark. The Hippocratic bargain and health information technology. Journal of Law,

Medicine & Ethics, 38(1), 7–13. 2010.  Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.

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