The Impact of Health Information System to Patients

Health Information System
Health Information System

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The Impact of Health Information System to Patients

            The emergence of computers has had enormous impact not just on the delivery of healthcare but quality as well. Health information systems for instance, plays a critical role in terms of storing and disseminating data for patients in most healthcare facilities. With the adoption and application of new methods of information technology in almost all sectors globally including the healthcare industry, it can never be disputed that the healthcare industry is in constant evolution.

The industry development has been associated with tools, used by healthcare professionals to provide quality services to the patient. Regardless of the ubiquitous use of Electronic Health Records (EHR) system, the issue of safety and privacy remains a major challenge (Department of Health and Human Services, 2006). The paper evaluates the privacy and security concerns of the Health Information Systems.

            According to John (2006), there has been a wide range of attackers believed to exist in any online format. The attackers have the potential of hacking and accessing into online systems such as the EHR. This creates a security hole and a compromising situation when it comes to ensuring the safety of patient data. Every person has a right to privacy, including patients whose medical records may be storing sensitive information, especially for psychiatric patients, who seek to conceal private information about their health.

Though the cases do not happen more frequently, the incidences may create some doubts in terms of people’s privacy and critical information getting in wrong hands (AHIMA, 2013). The accessibility of confidential information by a hacker may have devastating effects. Medical records can be vandalized by a malicious person, harboring  wicked motives, an aspect that may adversely compromise the safety of patients. Moreover, if the EHR is tampered with, it could also expose other personal data to the crook such as credit card details, the social security number, passport.

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According to HIPAA and WI-FI ACT, as encapsulated in the Electronic Human Rights Bill, the patient has a right to know about how their medical data is being used. Moreover, they have the legal basis to file a suite against any violations that comes with denying them access or malicious entry and snooping of their private information (Health Industry Insights, 2016).

            Furthermore, research conducted by the Health Industry Insights Consumer Survey in the year 2005 revealed that there is also a concern for the security associated with the Health Information Systems. This is especially evident during the transfer of information from the paper work to electronic health records. Following this process of information transfer, chances of information mishandling  is usually high. Nonetheless, EHR vendors are purely guided by the legal framework.

Again, a patient has the right to seek for rectification of any typographical mistakes or invalid information being recorded. Markle Foundation (2014) argued that this right is justified in the act of HIPAA and WI-FI under the Bill of Electronic Human Rights. Additionally, a patient is also entitled to receive an immediate notification when the attacker gets access to his or her medical information.

            In conclusion, health information and privacy is imperative to both the patients and the healthy physicians. While the medical personnel should use personal Health Records, to enhance the quality of care,  the issue of security and safety remains an issue requiring a rethink. The study established that EHR systems are effective and easily accessible, however, the element of EHR falling in the wrong hands is a warring trend.  To protect the privacy of  personal data, the legal framework as guided by HIPAA and WI-FI  ACT should be applied to the fullest to deter malicious entry.

References

AHIMA (2013) e-HIM Personal Health Record Work Group. “The Role of the Personal Health Record in the EHR.” Journal of AHIMA 76, no. 7 (July–August 2005): 64A–D. Department of Health and Human Services 2006) “American Health Information Community Workgroups: Consumer Empowerment Workgroup.” Retrieved on 18th, March, 2016 from <http://www.hhs.gov/healthit/ahic/ce_main.html>.

Health Industry Insights (2016). “Health Industry Insights Consumer Survey.”  Retrieved on 18th, march, 2016 from <http://www.idc.com/downloads/HIIConsumersurveyePHRs_Q&A.pdf >.

John, S, (2006). “Testimony before the Subcommittee on Health of the House Committee on Ways and Means, April 6, 2006.” Retrieved on 18th, march, 2016 from <http://waysandmeans.house.gov/hearings.asp?formmode=view&id=4829>

Markle Foundation (2014). “Attitudes of Americans Regarding Personal Health Records and Nationwide Electronic Health Information Exchange.” Retrieved on 18th, march, 2016 from <http://www.markle.org/downloadable_assets/research_release_101105.pdf >.

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