February 18, 2013
A specific mode of communication used by consumers and health providers of electronic medical records (EMR) is one of the most efficient sources in the health care industry. An electronic medical record (EMR) is a digital version of a paper chart that contains all of a patient’s medical history from one practice. An EMR is mostly used by providers for diagnosis and treatment (“HealthIT”, 2013).
An EMR is more beneficial than paper records because it allows providers to track data over time, identify patients who are due for preventative visits and screenings, monitor how patients measure up to certain parameters, such as vaccinations and blood pressure readings, and improve overall quality of care in a practice. The information stored in EMRs is not easily shared with providers outside of a practice. A patient’s record might even have to be printed out and delivered by mail to specialists and other members of the care team (“HealthIT”, 2013).
There are three risks associated with electronic records: the risk of inappropriate access, the risk of record tempering, and the risk of record loss due to natural catastrophes. Regardless of format, patient records are subject to the risk of inappropriate access. With electronic records, inappropriate access manifests itself in one way or another. An unauthorized user gains access to the HER data or an authorized user violates the appropriate use conditions. Electronic records can be subject to access by accident in situations such as when a user account is left open or a passerby is able to view data on the screen or manipulate the EHR features. EMR can also be subject to breaches of network security that may allow a hacker to gain access to user credentials and thereby to bypass the access control protections (“HRSA”, 2013).
Medical records can be altered in several different ways, including back-dating, fraudulent entries,...