Public Policy Issue
Select three public policy issues within a state or local organization with which you are familiar. Public policy examples may include zoning, human resources for city workers, parks and recreation, economic development, and so on.
Write a 350- to 700-word paper in which you discuss your selected public policy issues. Complete the following for each identified public policy issue:
- Introduce and identify the problem.
- Explain the background of the problem.
- Express the feasibility of overcoming the problem.
- Describe the current status of the problem.
Format your paper consistent with APA guidelines.
Select one public policy issue to be approved by your facilitator. You will address the approved public policy issue throughout the course.
Healthcare Policy: Protection of Personal Health Information
Personal health information is constantly subjected to hostile attacks with the primary aim of divulging, deleting, and altering it. The advert of technology, the internet, has further eroded patient privacy by increasing the availability of data to a larger audience. Individuals have long expressed concerns about the heightened susceptibility of information to security breaches and demanded for policies that maintain its confidentiality.
Health information system is the electronic entities that store, manage, and transmit healthcare data in the form of patient records. This permits the utilization and sharing of health information and hence improves the provision of health care and simplifies the payment procedures. With the aid of a set of fair practices, individuals are able to access the data, and make the necessary amendments. Nonetheless, information can be disclosed without the respective individual’s consent in the cases of public health emergencies, research and oversight, through established process and policies that still promote privacy. This is conducted through the written authorization of the hospital authorities and patients are normally informed in such cases.
There are numerous mechanisms that are being utilized to overcome this public policy issue, avert harmful breaches and information mismanagement. Firstly, there is the strengthening of user authentication that limits the access to certain documents through the use of passwords. Encryption of data can also be utilized in making information unreadable for unintended and unauthorized recipients. This tends to protect the integrity of patients’ personal heath records. Thirdly, there is the proper disposal of obsolete equipment; hence alleviates the chances of data risks.
Healthcare institutions are currently using private networks for data exchange and believe in their ability to manage and protect these systems since the internet presents numerous vulnerabilities. Examples of such networks include: virtual private networks and corporate intranets. These might not be as effective. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Acts (HIPAA) has also established certain rules such as the creation of an audit trail i.e. identify pertinent information systems, conduct a risk assessment, implement a risk management program, obtain IT systems and services, craft and deploy policies and procedures, and develop and execute a sanctions policy (Qaadri, 2008). All these are done in an attempt to promote confidentiality; it is one of the primary core duties of the medical practice.
Qaadri, S. (2008). Review of the Personal Health Information Protection Act, 2004. [Toronto]: Standing Committee on Social Policy.