Healthcare Policy: Protection of Personal Health Information
Select one of the public policy issues identified in your Week 1 assignment.
Write a 700- to 1,050-word initial proposal regarding your public policy issue. But you must address both sides of all controversial issues. Complete the following in your paper:
- Identify the internal and external environments that influence your plan's process.
- Analyze the effect that these environments have on the success of your policy plan.
- Elaborate on the various benefits of implementing a change through this public policy issue.
- Identify any ethical considerations that must be acknowledged before the project may begin.
The importance of security in the health care industry is continuously increasing due to the implementation of electronic health records, and thus the need to propose and establish numerous bills to regulate and facilitate this form of transaction. These policies are generally designed to aid physicians, insurances companies, and other third party players comprehend their professional and legal obligations in maintaining the patient’s confidentiality, especially due to the technological advancements in the communication sector of medical records and personal health information. Moreover, they also guarantee the safety of data from hostile attacks and security breaches that aims at deleting, divulging, or altering it. The following are some of the proposed policies: independent consent management tools, pseudonymisation, preserving data mining and statistical disclosure limitation, and personal electronic health record devices (Qaadri, 2008).
Nonetheless, there are external and internal environmental factors that tend to influence this process. Firstly, there are the internal failures, which originate from viruses, worms, inadvertent leakage of clients’ data, or insider fraud; this basically occurs in the organization. Currently, there are no federal privacy regulations aimed at averting these entities from emancipating people’s information to marketing firms, governments etc. This greatly contributes to the public’s inability to trust such institutions with the storage of personal health data. This, especially, refers to the independent consent management apparatus policy that relies on health trust. Other internal environmental factors include financial constraints, and organizational issues. External factors refer to all outside influences that impact the implementation of these regulations. An excellent example is the structure of the hospital market that has positively influenced the establishing of the recommended policies. Hostility due to the increase in healthcare suppliers has resulted in uncertainty, and hence majority of the institutions have turned to technological adoption to regain a competitive advantage. The current increased rate of population growth has greatly heightened the manual workload of record keeping resulting in the need for a well developed health information system. The patients also serve as an external environmental influence; the perception of the clients is paramount since this policy can only take place with their consent. Most people lack the knowledge of the need of such electronic systems for the storage of personal data and thus, maybe reluctant in conversing with the practitioners or provide them with false information. This can negatively affect the implementation of the policy; thus the essence of offering educational programs aimed at expounding more on the policies and their benefits.
The bioethics concept of non-maleficence demands the safeguarding of personal health information in a bid to avoid negatively impacting an individual’s dignity resulting in harm. These policies will prevent the disclosure of vital data to either the family or insurer, and thus protect a person from discrimination, stigma, and embarrassment. Therefore, the reluctance of providing candid, complete and sensitive information becomes greatly reduced; promoting effective communication between the patient and the doctor. This is usually fundamental for provision of quality care, averting economic harm, and enhanced autonomy. The success of these policies depends on their ability to adapt to the various situations and the numerous institutions interested. In addition to that, this is also fundamental due to the conducting of critical health researches that aim to improve the quality of life. This will protect the participants from harm while preserving their rights; ethical research. The following are fundamental ethical considerations that ought to be considered before the initiation of the project. They include: the safety and best interest of the clients, informed consent, beneficence, and respect for confidentiality and anonymity. All these policies are aimed at improving the general provision of healthcare in the country through proper information storage.
Qaadri, S. (2008). Review of the Personal Health Information Protection Act, 2004. [Toronto]: Standing Committee on Social Policy.
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