Health Information and Technology in Healthcare

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Health Information and Technology

Word count 2000.

This assignment will explain the importance of Information Technology in Healthcare. It will cover why it is important for the information to be correct and up to date, and the consequences of it being incorrect. It will also explain each terminology of Confidentiality, Integrity and Availability and present a scenario for each of these relating to the use of electronic patient records. For reasons of confidentiality all names and settings will be omitted (NMC, 2009). The data protection act of 1998 (HMSO, 1998) is an Act of Parliament that all users of personal information must adhere to by law; it sets out eight principles that apply to the keeping of computerised data. Security measures should always be taken to ensure data is only seen by those who need to see it, the quality of information is very important it should be accurate, up-to-date-not duplicated in any way and free from any confusion.

Confidentiality is a crucial principle in health care, this being because it implements a boundary in the control of personal information and data statistics. The public expect their privacy to be protected at all times. What counts as confidential information and what does not, should never be assumed. To break confidentiality is a very serious matter and strong evidence is required to support the reasoning behind a decision to share information about patients and clients, (Cain, 1999). There are situations when patient confidentiality can raise major problems, this can happen when they do not want to know their diagnosis or prognosis. Also when patients are unwilling to consent to relatives being informed of their condition, generally it is wrong to give confidential information to relatives about a patient. Only is it made possible for the relatives to receive confidential information and withhold the information from the patient, is when it is genuinely in the best interest of the patient (Henley, A et al 2004).

If it is decided that confidential information is to be disclosed for whatever reason then the individual must be prepared to explain and warrant their decision. Confidentiality is seen to be central in trust between the health care worker and the patient as they have the right to expect any information held about them will be treated in confidence. (General Medical Council 2002).

Case Scenario
Whilst working on a ward a recently qualified staff nurse who had earlier seen someone her mother knew, Mrs D being admitted to a gynaecology ward, decided to access that patients electronic notes to see what she had been admitted for and by doing so found out that the Mrs D had cancer of the vulva and was having a vulvectomy the following day. She then decided to go and visit Mrs D during her lunch break and tell her that she knew what she had been admitted for and if she could do anything to help her in any way not to hesitate to get in touch. When the staff nurse had left Mrs D was very distressed and could not understand how someone had found out, when only her husband and no other member of her family knew the real reason why she had come into hospital, she felt her dignity had been compromised greatly and reported the incident to the ward manager. Even though no malice was intended by the staff nurse concerned, she had seriously breached Mrs D’s confidentiality (Data protection Act, 1998) and by accessing the patient’s records when she had no need to do so, she was also guilty of professional misconduct. On this occasion she was given a written warning and it was made clear to her what her responsibilities were in regards to patient confidentiality. Precautions are being put into place where a special card is needed to access patient records. The card identifies you, what your role is and how much access you need to what particular part of the patients notes and you could read only...
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