Administrative Ethics Paper HCS/335 December 19, 2011 Administrative Ethics Paper There are many factors that are affecting our everyday lives but none as important as the ethics of healthcare. Healthcare is one of the largest personal care services provided in our civilization today. In order to provide this type of care adequate and qualified personnel must have access to personal information both medical and at times non-medical. Preserving patient confidentiality has become more increasingly difficult to do.
The desire to guard patient privacy is apparent with all the legal ramifications imposed by the federal and state laws. I will be discussing the ethical and legal issues of healthcare while stating the responsibilities and facts that could lead to solutions. According to “American Medical Association” (1995-2011), “The U. S. Constitution defines a physician’s legal obligation to their patient(s) by federal and state law, regulation, and by the court although access to patient information has become more accessible”(Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs).
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In 1996 Congress enacted the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) and was recently amended under the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act ( “AmericanCollege of Healthcare Executives”, 2009). HIPAA was to put safety measures to shield a patient(s) health information and keep it private.
In February of 2009 on the 17th, President Barak Obama authorized the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 with the objective to support the acceptance of electronic medical records (EMR) by physicians and medical facilities. The law symbolizes a reassurance to privacy by giving them actionable remedies in an event that their personal private medical records are misused or abused (“ResourceLibrary: The CBS Interactive Business Network”, 2002). The lack of safeguards for patients and their information is a big disadvantage because physicians, medical facilities, and patient(s) have oncerns as to whether or not their information will be protected and stay private. Health information being used electronically has increased medical access as well as transmission between health data and other physicians allowing admission to all a patient’s medical information in their network if needed. The expansion of technology in the healthcare industry has helped to give better patient care to ensure healthier and more productive people I society but the challenge comes into play with respecting and honoring a patient’s confidentiality.
Doctor’s have always been obligated to keep their patient’s information private by not divulging and medical or personal information exposed by the patient or ascertained by the physician while treating the patient. According to “American Medical Association” (1995-2011), ” the purpose of a physician’s ethical duty to maintain patient confidentiality is to allow the patient to feel free to make a full and frank disclosure of information to the physician with the knowledge that the physician will protect the confidentiality nature of the information disclosed” (Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs).
Sustaining a patient’s medical and personal information is a legal obligation as well as the ethical sense of duty. The American College of Healthcare Executives feels that besides following HIPAA and all applicable state and federal laws, healthcare executives should also have a ethical and moral duty to respect privacy and protect the security of patients’ medical records.
Doctors, nurses, and anyone that may come in contact with a patient’s records should become familiar with the laws involving the obligation to maintain confidentiality because any breach of confidentiality no matter how small can result in misappropriates, a lawsuit and/or disciplinary action. The HIPPA privacy protection in its present state is inadequate because it allows the sale of patient information to third parties without written consent even though there are consequences for it.
The American Recovery Reinvestment Act has begun to stipulate some safety by making a cutoff point for use of information for promotion and fundraising and for the sale of records. According to “AmericanCollege of Healthcare Executives” (2009), “As patient advocates, executives are required to guarantee their organization acquire appropriate patient authorization to give personal information or follow the correct procedures as carefully characterized in the policies and relevant laws in such cases for when the elease of information without consent is indicated” (Health Information Confidentiality). In conclusion with all the different and new technology in society today everyone more so doctors and medical personnel are extremely cautious about relinquishing and personal patient information regardless if it is to a another doctor or family. Every physician and medical facility must make every effort to guarantee the patient’s information will remain confidential regardless of how it is kept in a file or electronically.
Technology will progress as the years get older and so will the rise on patient information being misused. Technology can improve the quality of care by all means but while it is improving care it also needs to be steps and measures taken to improve the patient’s privacy and confidentiality of their medical information. References AmericanCollege of Healthcare Executives. (2009).
Retrieved from http://www. ache. org/policy/hiconf. cfm American Medical Association. (1995-2011). Retrieved from http://www. ama- assn. org/ama/pub/about-ama/our-people/ama-councils/council-ethical-judicial affairs. page ResourceLibrary: The CBS Interactive Business Network. (2002). Retrieved from http://findarticles. com/p/articles/mi_m1272/is_2689_131/ai_92691019/? tag=content;col1