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Administrative Ethics

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Patient Privacy

HCS/335

06/25/11
Virginia Henkels

Patient Privacy

Patient privacy has been a major issue within the healthcare field for many years. With the increasing use of medical information technology more and more people are being authorized to view patient health information. Not only do physicians and nurses have access; but this has broadened to include allied health professionals, billing specialists, quality assurance employees, social workers, medical records technicians etc... (Pendrak & Ericon, 1998). All of these healthcare professionals have a duty to take any steps necessary to protect the patient's right to privacy when it comes to their health information.
Population Affected
Patient privacy issues affect all healthcare professionals as well as anyone who seeks medical care. Patient confidentiality is the right of an individual to have personal, identifiable information kept private (E-notes, 2011). The protected health information should be only available to the physician of record unless an informed consent is signed by the patient giving permission for the medical professional to release the information. The informed consent consists of whom to release the information to and specifically what information is to be released. The increasing desire of healthcare organizations to attain medical information systems has broadened the amount of access to patient records. This opens up the risk of inappropriate use of patient records and may violate state or federal privacy laws. There are numerous examples of people affected by abuses of their rights to privacy. According to Pendrak & Ericson (1998), “In Maryland, for example, 16 state employees sold confidential information from the state's medical database to HMOs. According to a University of Illinois study, a startling 35 percent of Fortune 500 companies admit to...

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