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Medical records access and HIPPA

by | Mar 26

As an employee of the hospital, one day you noticed two nurses laughing as they were reading something off of a computer screen. The nurses had looked up information on a patient whoentered the emergency room a couple of weeks ago. They were discussing it and one of the nurses was in the processof printing out this information to share with another one of her friends that worked in the hospital.

1. What would you do if you were faced with this situation?

2. What are some of potential issues that can arise now that patient information is stored electronically and can be accessed quickly and easily by a number of individuals?)

3. What are some ways in which a patient’s confidentiality can be better guarded with the use of technology?

4. Do you think the electronic availability to medicalrecords is responsible for the government mandated Health InsurancePrivacy and Portability Act (HIPPA)? Explain.

If I were faced with this situation, I would immediately try to prevent the nurses from accessing the records for their own amusement and making copies for other unauthorized persons. Clearly, their behavior is unprofessional and unethical – it almost certainly violates both hospital codes and employment agreements. After putting a stop to what they were doing, I would report the incident to a supervisor or an appropriate hospital authority.
Many issues arise now that patient records are stored electronically. Mainly, the problem is access. Insurance companies, employers, political opponents, and other non-privileged people can potentially view, change, copy, or spread the medical histories and records of others. Without appropriate confidentiality laws and safeguards, people may face difficulty in getting employment, receiving health benefits, or being approved for health insurance. This is particularly true if genetic test results are accessible. Other sensitive test results, such as AIDS tests, are particularly vulnerable to being used against someone. Think of how that test result …

Medical records access and HIPPA issues are discussed using personal insight.

  

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