Health Care Privacy Part 1
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996 make it more difficult for patient records to be shared without patient permission. Part of the HIPAA amendments is a security rule that requires hospitals and doctors to use state-of-the-art encryption and security systems. This is the second element of health care privacy part 2. The security rule makes it harder for non-authorized users to gain access to patient records. They can only get information about the doctor-patient’s medical history, if they have the right passwords and access codes.
However, security is not the only reason for this security measure. Some doctors want to avoid having to explain their reasons for seeing patients. Privacy is also a concern for some health care workers. They worry that they will be criticized if they reveal information about certain conditions or services they offer. Doctors may not want to disclose a cancer diagnosis because they do not want to alert a patient to an upcoming heart attack.
Medical practitioners have good reason for wanting to maintain privacy. If a patient has a serious illness, it is extremely important that he or she receives timely care. Doctors rely on their patients to tell them everything about their health and treatments. Without proper privacy, a doctor could be held responsible if he or she tells a friend about a serious condition the patient is suffering from. A person with a communicable disease could become extremely contagious, resulting in many more people contracting the disease and spreading it to others.
Part of the health care privacy rule is also about confidentiality. Personal information provided during a doctor’s visit can help him or her to provide better care to patients. Patients who know that certain information will be kept confidential are far more likely to take advantage of medical treatments. When a person understands how his or her privacy can be protected, he or she is more likely to cooperate fully with health care professionals.
Doctors also have a legitimate reason for wanting to protect health care privacy. Lawsuits often result from patient records being released. Even the identity of a registered nurse or other medical professional who assists a patient in treatment can be jeopardized if this information is released. The health care industry is quite competitive. Keeping patient information confidential helps doctors and hospitals compete for patients.
Privacy is particularly important when it comes to the health and safety of children. Children have a right to feel safe when they visit a doctor or when they are in the care of other adults. It is the child’s right to feel comfortable that the person treating them is not taking any safety risks by sharing personal health information. All health care professionals must take the proper steps to ensure patient privacy, no matter what they may do to collect the information.
In some cases, the health care professional may ask a patient to refrain from having unneeded contact with others while they are under anesthesia or during recovery. This applies to phone calls, visits to other offices or even social visits. When a patient gives permission to such information sharing, they have given permission for the rest of the information to be shared as well. This means that even after a patient has stopped receiving medical treatment that information still has to be disclosed in the event of a claim.
Privacy is an important issue in any industry. With the advent of the internet and smart phones, patients are much more likely to share their personal health care information on social media sites. People are very willing to share information about themselves. They want to know what questions to ask and which ones to avoid in order to protect their own privacy. Doctors understand this. They work hard to provide high quality care while also being mindful of patient health care privacy.