May 20, 2012
Administrative Ethics Paper
Patient privacy has been a large issue in the healthcare field for a long time. The increasing uses of new technology patient medical information are being viewed more and more by other people. Physicians and nurses have access to patient health information; but others allied health professionals, social workers, medical records and medical records technicians (Pendrak & Ericon, 1998). Healthcare professional responsibility is to protect the patient privacy rights when it comes to their health information.
Legal and Ethical Issues
There are laws that healthcare organizations have to follow to maintain the confidentiality of their patient’s medical records and provide legal protection on computerize or electronically transfer patient information (Pendrak & Ericon, 1998). The protection of patient privacy is an ongoing concern in states laws and the lack of clarity in federal requirements. There are not strict guidelines in some healthcare facilities that require staff members to follow the patient privacy information because government guidelines are not followed the way it needs to be followed. The rapid advancement with medical technology is changing the pace on how the laws have designed to protect patient privacy.
In 1996 the government attempted to address the issue on the confidentiality on patient by introducing the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). In this Act there are monetary penalties and prison terms for wrongful disclosure of individual medical information. However the uniform national medical records privacy standards was not set at this time. There are standards that healthcare organizations must follow under HIPAA. The electronic health transactions have certain standards all healthcare organizations must implement national standard to use one uniform format so the transactions efficiency can improve. Healthcare organization had to adopt and use tax number or NPI number to identify themselves during any electronic health transaction to protect themselves under HIPAA rules and regulation (Train-HIPAA.net, 2011).
The purpose of a physician’s ethical duty is to protect the privacy of their patients so that the patient may feel comfortable when they tell the physician their entire medical information and without having any fear that the physician will pass their medical information out to anyone else without them knowing. The physician can treat the patient fully because the patient ability to trust the physician not to give out their medical information, this will allow the physician to diagnose and treat the patient entire condition properly. The guidelines used are not binding any law, but some court may use them for the basis for imposing legal obligations (AMA, 2011).
The issues on patient privacy will affect all healthcare professionals as well as anyone that seeks medical care. The confidentiality of patients is to have their personal identifiable medical information private (E-notes, 2011). The health information should be protected and only available to the physician who has the medical information for the patient unless the patients have given a signed consent giving the medical professional permission to release the medical information. The consent informs who will release the information, what information shall be released and to whom the medical information will be released to. Because of the increasing desire for healthcare organizations to attain information from the medical information systems has become a broadened the amount of access to the patient records.
The inappropriate use of patient health records may violate the state or federal privacy laws. A lot of people have been affected and abused of...