Privacy in Health Care

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Patient privacy in hospitals is one of the utmost concerns in hospitals and in small clinics in today’s world. The patient identification verification is not only there for the doctors to be fully aware of the patient’s identity, but so that any test or sickness that one patient may have does not leak to another patient’s knowledge. A person’s privacy has always been a problem, especially dealing with a person’s health and their lives outside of the hospital. The main sources that want access to a person’s health information are the doctors that have full access to the information, and sometimes employers and insurance companies, depending on what type of insurance and the company.

However, this is where the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), comes in to play. HIPAA is basically a protection law for everyone’s health privacy. As Brodnik said in 2012, “Privacy, as distinct from confidentiality, is viewed as the right of the individual client or patient to be let alone and to make decisions about how personal information is shared.” As supported in the code of ethics, the confidentiality is between the patient and the patient’s provider this meaning that the patient’s doctor can get face difficult consequences if he or she were to talk about their patient’s health issues or case with anyone beside the person the information is connected to, especially without the person’s knowledge.

Security of one’s health information is just the protection of that person’s information… this is where verifying the person’s name, date of birth, and address comes into play when people go to the doctor’s office nowadays. Privacy in the hospital can be a little difficult in today’s world because of the updated techniques on how hospitals are keeping the patient’s information, which is mostly all on a computer. The danger in keeping a client’s full information on a computer — such as social security number, name, date of birth, and a few other items of identification information — would be the safety of a patient due to a hacker or a break-in to the system. Once someone gets full access to that information that is supposed to be inaccessible, everyone in the system is at danger because of identity theft.

Though there are plenty of precautions to make sure that this does not happen, in 2016 there were about 3 million records stolen from the Albany- based Newkirk Products. This is, however, not something that happens on a day to day basis in the hospitals because of how high the security is on every person’s file. Nevertheless, a patient’s files on the computer have been seemingly easier to get patients in and out of the hospital faster and more efficient due to not having to go through all the file cabinets and looking for one pack of papers out of a thousand different packs. The patient’s privacy is still well intact and can have a more secure, in my opinion, file lock. Also, people tend to forget about HIPAA and how it works.

HIPAA is a program that gives data privacy and security to all the medical information (2019- Garza, Diana). HIPAA helps not only to protect the medical records but in fact, enforce rules for professional healthcare providers to be extra precautious regarding whom the information is shared with. A problem that people face when choosing a doctor is the confidence of knowing the doctor and how he or she will handle their health. Confidentiality is “the obligation of professionals who have access to patients records or communication to hold that information in confidence” (Prater, Valerie).

Which means that they are not allowed to share any of the patient’s information to anyone other than the patient it is worrisome, not even other nurses or the doctor’s spouses. Confidentiality is the leading cause for HIPAA and its policies, especially in the hospitals because of how often there can be an identification breach with people having the same names or the same date of birth and that person’s information is being shared with someone it is not meant for. While figuring out a person’s health information such as a treatment or a stable state for the patient the doctor is not allowed to discuss with anyone about the procedures or precautions of the treatment unless the patient authorizes otherwise.

Ethically, a doctor is always supposed to have a doctor-patient relationship where the patient can fully disclose information, he or she may not feel comfortable telling anyone else, in full confidence that the doctor will not tell anyone unless it will cause harm to the patient. Security is in hospital files to protect all the information on all the patients and staff who works in that facility. An old example of security would be the files being locked in a file cabinet but today security is a process on the computers so that not just anyone can see a patient’s information without someone being made aware that a file is being opened.

Again, HIPAA has a security rule that is to protect every patient’s information on and off electronics. If for some reason a breach is made to the confidentiality because of failed security, there are major consequence and penalties made by HIPAA that will punish the person that caused the breach. Many hospitals are, if they haven’t already, are double and sometimes triple checking all the patient’s information before handing out information on the patient’s file. In conclusion, the privacy, confidentiality, and security policies in hospitals are updating daily, this allowing extra protection on people’s personal information not to be given out to just anyone. There are laws and guidelines in place to prevent people from getting sensitive information that can cause life-changing events in people’s lives. The patient’s privacy is the most important aspects to a doctor, and his team because when they fail to keep it confidential, the team gets punished.

Works Cited

  1. [Odyssey Website] “The 5 Most Pressing Ethical Issues in Biotechnology Medicine.” The Odyssey Online, Odyssey, 30 Aug. 2017, www.theodysseyonline.com/the-5-most-pressing-ethical-issues-in-biotechnology-medicine.
  2. [NCBI Website] SILVERMAN, ED. “The 5 Most Pressing Ethical Issues in Biotech Medicine.” Current Neurology and Neuroscience Reports., U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2004, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/.
  3. “Confidentiality, Privacy and Security of Health Information: Balancing Interests.” Impact of Health Informatics on Nursing | University of Illinois at Chicago, healthinformatics.uic.edu/resources/articles/confidentiality-privacy-and-security-of-health-information-balancing-interests/.
  4. [A Phlebotomy Handbook ninth edition] Garza, Diana, et al. Phlebotomy Handbook: Blood Specimen Collection from Basic to Advanced. Ninth ed., Pearson Education, Inc., 2019.

Cite this paper

Privacy in Health Care. (2021, Oct 30). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/privacy-in-health-care/

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