Improved availability of patients’ information in electronically has enhanced the provision of health care to patients. However there greater concerns about the privacy of information stored electronically and how the main law governing patient’s privacy affects such information. Doubts on whether critical information will be kept confidentially affects the way patients respond to available heath care options. This paper looks at the various ways in which the law would affect patients data stored electronically.
A lot of treatments and sickness have some stigma attachment. This makes many people avoid seeking treatment especially if they are not sure that critical information about them will remain private. This is why many patient with insurance policy delay to seek treatment worsening their condition or pay directly from their pocket since they do not want to expose their condition to healthcare system they don’t trust. The need for this privacy is thus the drive behind enactment of laws that ensure medical privacy. The main law governing patients privacy is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability act of 1996 (HIPAA). The law has multiple goals the law has a privacy segment that is called the “Privacy Rule” which lays restriction to any kind of disclosure of information relating to a patient. As a rule the law requires healthcare practitioners to enact measure that ensure patients privacy (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, 1996).
Effect of the law of data stored in electrical medium
This law certainly affects electronically kept medical record. Confidentiality and privacy are terms that can be use interchangeably. However, confidentiality stands for doctors should not reveal what patient tells them to any one other than the people taking care of such a patient. Privacy on the other hand involves giving guard against an authorized disclosure of a person’s identifiable information whether or not it was revealed due to patient doctor relationship. In order to meet the requirement of this law, electronically stored record require among others; user authentication before access to the record, access regulation to a systems resources, physical protection of data sites, defined data ownership, clear policies to protect the data, education to the users, creation of safety info systems, creation of user profiles, systems integrity, safety of hard copy materials, observation of all issues relating to legality and liability and securing of all component of networks involved (Barrows & Clayton, 1996).
Certainly such measures are meant to ensure that individual who shouldn’t access patients’ information do not access it. It ensures that health care practitioners maintain the patients’ confidentiality or privacy. This in turn will ensure that patients are not shy to seek medication for various conditions affecting them.