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HIPAA and Information Technology

A “standardized medical records database” can offer providers promptness in receiving pertinent materials from the patient’s chart.This documentation may entail access to the patient’s medical, family history, contact numbers, and any other relative to notify in case of an emergency.Electronic prescribing, and sharing of reports, test results, and public health alerts with other entities promotes coordination of care.

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Diagnostics and readings, such as blood pressure, and sugar, are just examples of the data that is immediately available through the “health information exchange (HIE).

Physicians, hospitals, and clinics will enter these facts and figures into “patient vault,” the central database for the patient. Along with these recordings, patients can leave messages for the physician, and request medication refills. With the convenience of the automated charting format, the doctor, and patient does not have to wait while paper reports are sorted through because of misfiles, disorganized records, poor communication with staff, or typographical errors. The electronic system ensures that records are in chronological order, and that all reports are current, adequately preparing the provider for the appointment.

The Detroit Medical Center, which purchased the equipment to convert its paper record format into electronic, as has been developing the process since, has produced some promising statistics. Chief Nursing Officer Patricia Natale, credits the automated application for reducing the length of prolonged admissions, and misjudgments in administering medications through the “EMR-enabled medication scanning” feature. The hospital’s management team affirms that the electronic filing “system” has already generated nearly $5 in “savings” for the facility, and has been upgrading security for “patients.”

This feat is accomplished by effectively supervising imperative activities conducted daily, and diminishing the occurrences of prescription inaccuracies by “75 percent,” as per the current assessments, observes DMC Chief Medical Information Officer Leland Babitch, MD. Findings by The United States Institute of Medicine indicate that hospital blunders are responsible for approximately 100,000 of patient deaths a year. DMC Vice President for Quality and Safety Michelle Schreiber, MD claims that the automated charting format has proven to greatly assist providers with treating patients throughout the day.

The HIPAA issues that could arise are as follows. In the article in GreenvilleOnline. com website, “Growing Medical Identity Theft Puts Patients at Risk,” Osby, (2013) cites a report issued by The U. S. Department of Health and Human Services, (2010). As a concern, health care “identity theft,” is in competition with the “other” most prominent national “identity” crimes, claiming over “5 million “ victims in the year Osby (2013) apprises. Mark Savage, a senior attorney for Consumers Union, announced that breaking into patient’s “personal information” via automated databases is a problem that is worsening in the medical office.

He recognizes that “electronic medical records” are capable of offering advantages to the health care industry, and its patrons. However, he adds that quandary lies in the assurance of safeguarding patient’s sensitive materials (2012). Individually identifiable information, such as “birthdates,” demographics, “social security,” and contact numbers, provide an abundance of facts which prospective felons find extremely attractive to when attempting to extort funds from “hospitals, or for other monetary rewards.

These illicit activities wreak havoc on the patient, in the form of erroneous invoices, which can compromise “their credit,” their employment, and even subject them to improper “treatments,” stemming from inaccurate “medical” documentation (Osby, 2013). The author also alerts that “security” measures fail to match the demand for electronic records, data sharing, and social media and mobile technology to manage patient data, or the new uses for digital health information.”

Stealing is the primary offender in the “medical” field, impacting over “500 patients,” trailed only by “authorized “disclosure “to,” or with “health information,” and staff oversights, and misplacing automated, or “paper” files (The Department Health and Human Services, 2010) GreenvilleOnline interviewed Chad Lawson, a spokesman for “Spartanburg Regional,” (where an information security council was comprised in 2012, to guarantee that regulations put in place to shield “patient information are” resilient, and dependable).

During this conversation, Lawson advised that “as technology grows and changes and becomes even more vital to the continuing development of improved quality, we must promise that our efforts to keep information safe are adaptable to the fast growth of electronic medical records and other portals for speed and efficiency in patient care” (2012).

I believe technology in the medical records management industry is so far behind other industries primarily because of affordability, and that the perception of cost can outweigh the value. Although the president has allocated nearly “$3 million Medicare/Medicaid bonuses” to various health care establishments, including “clinics,” and hospitals,” to aid in the transition, the expense of purchasing, and operations still hinder progress.

Despite the positive reviews from current customers of the electronic system, less than “4 percent” of facilities have followed through with conversion, having already limiting funding of many IT projects, The University of Michigan School Of Medicine reported. A quarter of American “hospitals,” “already” fiscally impaired by the down-spiraling economy, have upgraded only partially to automated “records,” or have remained with paper. Healthcare reform in general has been a political “hotbed” of controversy throughout several presidencies.

The nation’s failing economy, rising unemployment, terrorism, natural disasters are already on the forefront of many debates. The fiscal budget “puts the squeeze” on any other programs, particularly those which would most likely require enormous funding to proceed. I am of the opinion that these are some of the reasons that the push to incorporate a universal electronic records format has been delayed, and still continues lagging behind other industries.

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