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EHR Security Issues

EHR Security Issues

Referencing Style: APA / Word Count: 609 

EHR Security Issues

Electronic Health Records (EHRs) are an essential communication tool to every organization. They enable coordination of services, aid in clinical diagnosis, evaluation of the efficacy of care, and as a basis of accreditation. Proper security measures ought to be put in place to regulate access and privacy of EHRs (Laurinda B. Harman, 212). Confidentiality of all health records is crucial in ensuring there is no breach of contract, and patient information is only accessible to authorized persons. Information can be compromised is several ways including hacking, inaccurate data capture or unauthorized access to data. Health Insurance Portability and accountability Act (HIPAA) is responsible for assessing violations of health organizations in matters related to breach of EHRs.  

Several issues influence the safety of EHRs like privacy and confidentiality of data. A single patient is served by different medical officers. Hence, it is essential to limit access to information to only authorized personnel and to have different levels of access. Patient information should be shared to other parties only with the patient’s consent or as allowed by laws and regulations (Addington, 2021). HIPAA rules and regulations under privacy assign liability to the business entity (Laurinda B. Harman, 212). Therefore, when employees’ actions result in a breach of data, the medical organization is financially liable. To mitigate such issues, EHRs access should be limited to employees attending to the patient. Additionally, authorization to data access should include biometric authentication. Lastly, different personnel should access information about a patient that is necessary to enable them perform their duties.  

Security of information is another major issue associated with EHRs. Any data collected from a patient should be securely stored and protected by the medical organization. Information security regulations are defined by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (Laurinda B. Harman, 212). Increased cases of medical identity theft and increased exchange of information among clinical officers, physicians and medical agencies has contributed to compromised security of data. The increased use of smartphones by physicians while consulting on medical issues has contributed to information compromise (Addington, 2021). Managing information shared via mobile phones is difficult as mobile phones are individual gadgets and can easily be stolen misplaced, or hacked. Firewalls and intrusion detection softwares should be installed to limit access to data servers. Employees should be discouraged to use personal gadgets like phones and tabs to share information since cannot be managed centrally and vulnerability of leakage of information is high. HIPAA requires organization to conduct audit trails to trace transfer of files and information. The act recommends implementation of a robust information management system with controls for hardware, software, access and input of data.

Lastly, another issue affecting EHRs concerns data integrity. Data integrity refers to accuracy of data captured. Due to unanticipated factors inaccurate patient data can be captured and saved, this could be detrimental to the health of that patient (Fernández-Alemán, Señor, Lozoya, & Toval, 2013). Accuracy in data capturing is essential since physicians rely on the same data to make diagnosis. EHRs need to be user friendly, provide a detailed drop down menu and have interactive screen designs (Addington, 2021). Topographical errors like entering the wrong temperature value could result in the wrong diagnosis of a patient and the subsequent effect could be detrimental. It is evident that EHRs are associated with various safety issues that could compromise the quality of information. However, there are remedial measures that could be implemented to ensure most of these issues are mitigated (Laurinda B. Harman, 212). HIPAA understands that breach of data is highly possible, therefore, accesses the level of breach of data and the cause of breach to determine liability of an organization.

References

Addington, W. (2021, April 11). Issues affecting EHRs. (name of student, Interviewer)

Fernández-Alemán, J. L., Señor, I. C., Lozoya, P. Á., & Toval, A. (2013). Security and privacy in electronic health records: A systematic literature review. Journal of Biomedical Informatics, 46(3), 541-562.

Laurinda B. Harman, P. R. (212). Electronic Health Records: Privacy, Confidentiality, and Security. AMA Journal of Ethics. Retrieved from https://journalofethics.ama-assn.org/article/electronic-health-records-privacy-confidentiality-and-security/2012-09 

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