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Confidentiality of individually identifiable health information

Uploaded by cliffordsmit on Nov 04, 2001

Criterion A: Describing the issue
The misuse of private health care information can cause discrimination against others in society. Nowadays we trust and depend upon the medical professionals to secure our private records. The computer revolution has made the process of transmitting information convenient, thus allowing our family secrets to travel from our family doctor to hospitals to insurance companies - increasing the level of insecurity. The idea of federal security legislation has been effective, but in these times other solutions are also needed to secure information so that the patient can be comfortable with the format at which the information is controlled. Without safeguards to assure that obtaining health care will not endanger our privacy, public discrimination can be created. The confidentiality of health information is an issue that profoundly affects every American. The fundamental question maintains Secretary of Health and Human Services Donna Shalala, is: "Will our health records be used to heal the public or reveal the patients?" 1

Criterion B: IT background of the issue
In the past medical records were stored by means of big filing cabinets that were physically locked in the doctor¡¦s office. The safety of any disclosure was limited to the number of people who owned a key. The future has brought new technology in the computer and software industries where electronic databases were developed in order to control, store and arrange medical records more sufficiently and conveniently for authorized users. Hereby medical institutions had the ability to store vast amounts of information that can be accessed easily and allowed them to transfer the medical records via networks (email) to one another. Today one person¡¦s health information can be found in insurance companies, hospitals, therapists and psychiatrists all over the United States where multiple users within each company have the ability to access the information. Networks have made it possible for people to attach information by email and to copy2 medical records easily. Today, crackers can get remote access through any computer and obtain personal health records.

Criterion C: Analyzing the impact of the issue
Private health records can reflect unfavorably on individuals. In Florida for example, the names of 4,000 HIV-positive patients were carelessly released to two newspapers 4. It has been stated that this act has influenced the HIV-positive patients of finding jobs. The confidentiality issue has become so serious that President Clinton went before the nation late in 1999 with a speech calling...

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Uploaded by:   cliffordsmit

Date:   11/04/2001

Category:   Science And Technology

Length:   6 pages (1,270 words)

Views:   1804

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