Ethical and Security Issues of HITRecent headlines have covered a rash of security breaches at companies around the globe. Millions of customers and clients have had their information stolen by hackers or lost through careless data handling. With the push for switching medical records from paper to digital, people have expressed concerns about the safety and security of this information. How much faith can patients put into a health care provider’s commitment to privacy, ethical standards, and careful protection of health care information?The transition to digital communication presents ethical and security issues never before encountered. Despite the concerns generated by the digital paradigm shift, the key values of privacy, confidentiality, autonomy, and non-maleficence still can provide a framework for decision making in the context of health information technology. The question that health care professionals encounter when contemplating HIT is how well these ethical and security frameworks withstand the test of time as privacy and security issues grow more complex.This week you explore the ethical and security issues that nurses need to be aware of when working with sensitive, private information. You also appraise strategies for ensuring the security of patient information.Learning ObjectivesStudents will:• Analyze the responsibility of nurses to protect patient information• Appraise strategies for ensuring the appropriate use of technology that facilitates the security of patient informationPhoto Credit: [nullplus]/[E+]/Getty ImagesNew section id=”resources”
Learning ResourcesNote: To access this week’s required library resources, please click on the link to the Course Readings List, found in the Course Materials section of your Syllabus.Required ReadingsMcGonigle, D., & Mastrian, K. G. (2015). Nursing informatics and the foundation of knowledge (3rd ed.). Burlington, MA: Jones and Bartlett Learning.• Chapter 5, “Ethical Applications of Informatics” This chapter examines the ethical dilemmas that arise in nursing informatics. The authors explore the responsibilities for the ethical use of health information technology.•• Review Chapter 23 “Research: Data Collection, Processing, and Analytics” (pp. 415–416) In this section, the author explains information fair use and copyright restrictions. The section describes processes for ensuring the security of a computer network.Brown, B. (2009a). Improving the privacy and security of personal health records. Journal of Health Care Compliance, 11(2), 39–40, 68.Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.
The author of this article examines the use of the document titled “Nationwide Privacy and Security Framework for Electronic Exchange of Individually Identified Health Information.” The article describes how the framework aims to construct an approach to address the privacy and security challenges that come with health information exchanges and personal health records.Dimitropoulos, L., Patel, V., Scheffler, S. A., & Posnack, S. (2011). Public attitudes toward health information exchange: Perceived benefits and concerns. American Journal of Managed Care, 17, SP111–SP116.Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.
This article describes a study that sought to determine the attitude of consumers toward electronic health information exchanges (HIE), HIE privacy and security concerns, and the relationship between these concerns and the perceived benefits of HIE. The authors recommend solutions to some of the privacy challenges stimulated by HIE.Goodman, K. W. (2010). Ethics, information technology, and public health: New challenges for the clinician-patient relationship. Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics, 38(1), 58–63.Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.
In this article, the authors focus on how nurses can use health information technology to help transform health care using the recommendations included in the 2010 Institute of Medicine report “The Future of Nursing, Leading Change, Advancing Health.” The author also discusses the 2011 National Strategy for Quality Improvement in Health Care.Hoffman, S., & Podgurski, A. (2011). 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.
This article stresses the necessity of sufficient safeguards for EHR systems. The author explores current safety regulations for EHR system design and deployment. The author makes additional recommendations for protecting public health in the digital area.Rothstein, M. A. (2010). The Hippocratic bargain and health information technology. Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics, 38(1), 7–13.Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.
The increasing availability of sensitive patient information granted by electronic health records has generated significant debate about patient privacy. This article examines the potential ethical and legal consequences of patient-directed sequestering of sensitive health information.Optional ResourcesBrown, B. (2009b). Privacy provisions of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Journal of Health Care Compliance, 11(3), 37–38, 72–73.Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.New section id=”discussion”
ASSIGNMENTSecurity of Health Care Records
With the increase of health information technology used to store and access patient information, the likelihood of security breaches has also risen. In fact, according to the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ):
In the United States, there was a whopping 97% increase in the number of health records breached from 2010 to 2011… The number of patient records accessed in each breach has also increased substantially, from 26,968 (in 2010) to 49,394 (in 2011). Since August 2009, when the US government regulated that any breach affecting more than 500 patients be publicly disclosed, a total of 385 breaches, involving more than 19 million records, have been reported to the Department of Health and Human Services.A large portion of those breaches, 39%, occurred because of a lost, stolen, or otherwise compromised portable electronic device—a problem that will likely only get worse as iPads, smartphones, and other gadgets become more common in hospitals. (CMAJ, 2012, p. E215).
Consider your own experiences. Does your organization use portable electronic devices? What safeguards are in place to ensure the security of data and patient information? For this Discussion you consider ethical and security issues surrounding the protection of digital health information.
To prepare:• Review the Learning Resources dealing with the security of digital health care information. Reflect on your own organization or one with which you are familiar, and think about how health information stored electronically is protected.• Consider the nurse’s responsibility to ensure the protection of patient information. What strategies can you use?• Reflect on ethical issues that are likely to arise with the increased access to newer, smaller, and more powerful technology tools.• Consider strategies that can be implemented to ensure that the use of HIT contributes to an overall culture of safety.
Post the following: (APA format; 1-2 pages; references)
1. Post an analysis of the nurse’s responsibility to protect patient information and the extent that HIT has made it easier or more difficult to protect patient privacy.
2. Comment on any security or ethical issues related to the use of portable devices to store information.
3. Assess the strategies your organization uses to safeguard patient information and how these promote a culture of safety.
4. Describe an area where improvement is needed and one strategy that could address the situation.
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