Electronic Health Records: Are They Worth the Risk?
October 18, 2009
Health care is a hot topic in today’s society- everything from reforming the industry so that people are not denied health coverage to finding ways that patients’ medical records can be accessed electronically for more convenience. Moreover, epidemics such as HIV/AIDS spotlights the issues surrounding public health agencies use of maintenance and storage of electronic health records (EHR). Myers, Frieden, Bherwani, and Henning (2008) state that although there are security breaches when personal health information is stored in electronic form, the data can be better secured than paper records because authentication, authorization, auditing, and accountability can be facilitated. Within the article, Privacy and Public Health at Risk: Public Health Confidentiality in the Digital Age, the authors concluded with the belief that individuals will be more comfortable with providing their personal health information if they have the confidence that their information will be protected (Myers et al., 2008). With heavy push by health major health agencies to have a national electronic health records database, raises one question: Are electronic hearth records really worth it? According to the authors, health agencies should work with law and information technology professionals to assess possible threats, implement policies, train staff, and develop engineering measures to protect consumer health information. By tightening the physical and electronic controls, health agencies can prevent misuse of data and minimize the risk of security breaches, while they maintain their reputation and integrity. Buell (2009) agrees with the authors by stating that electronic health records offer significant benefits to patients and physicians by having a unified patient record across all components within hospitals, medical groups, and ambulatory settings. He also states that in order to...
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