Case Study

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Case Scenario of Natural Disaster
The Privacy and security of patient’s health information is a important challenge and responsibility for every health care organization and a concern for every U.S. citizen. To receive healthcare patients must reveal information that is very personal and often sensitive. Most the patient-physician relationship depends on very high levels of trust at the same time they also trust health care organization, to protect their confidential healthcare information with belief of security and privacy. It is an ethical and legal responsibility for every health care organization to protect patients’ health information and should make a management plan for security and privacy of this confidential health information. “Disasters and security incidents may threaten the organization’s ability to carry out its mission as well as other operational functions. Advance planning and preparation will allow the organization to continue serving its patients and community and ensure the availability of patient protected health information as well as business information”( MHC IS Disaster Recovery Plan, 2006). If access to data is not safe and precise during a natural disaster, there are bound to be many privacy concerns. The purpose of this paper is to describe and discuss about the natural disaster case scenario of a small town on the Gulf Coast that was struck by a hurricane and the detailed management plan for the security and privacy of the effected patients’ health care information. The execution and training staff of the management plan and code of conduct are also discussed in the paper. Natural disasters are known as a natural disaster because it is natural and are unpredictable. Natural disaster can be impact on natural threats like earthquakes, tsunamis, cyclones, hurricanes, floods etc. All these natural disasters have had a major effect on health organizations and it is critical to have a disaster plan in place to protect every patient’s health information. “The health record serves a variety of purposes, one of which is to provide an accurate summary of a patient's health status. An unexpected loss of patient health records could be devastating to the patient, organization, and clinical care provider. Therefore, the health record must be guarded against unexpected losses due to a natural disaster. The occurrence of a disaster is rare; however, a well-designed disaster plan and subsequent action plan addressing the re-creation of lost or destroyed patient information will assist organizations in resuming business operations more efficiently and effectively” (AHIMA, 2003). However, every health organizations must have natural disaster plan to protect patient’s safety, secures health information from damage, ensures stability in continuity of care activities, and provides for orderly recovery of information. Every healthcare organization is facing increasing regulatory burdens, and the latest to demand response is The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Security. “One major aspect of HIPAA Security is the disaster recovery plan, which seeks to restore appropriate access to information after a major calamity” (James C. Murphy, 2003). “The disaster recovery plan is a required implementation specification defined within the HIPAA Contingency Plan standard in the Administrative Safeguards section of the HIPAA Security Rule. The organizational disaster plan must state how confidential data will be moved and restored without violating HIPAA standards of privacy and security. The objective of a disaster recovery plan is to establish (and implement as needed) procedures to restore any loss of data. A disaster recovery plan is the part of an overall contingency plan that contains a process enabling an enterprise to restore any loss of data in the event of fire, vandalism, natural disaster, or system failure”(HIPPA, 2005).

Based on case scenario living on Gulf coast patients files...
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