Privacy and Information in Healthcare: Where Do We Stand?

healthcare security and privacy

The implementation of information technology has really changed our healthcare landscape. Patients can now have a detailed medical history kept in the cloud, where it is accessible at all times. Granting access to a full medical history is as simple as creating a temporary login for the physician in charge. Access to other healthcare information such as insurance and support services is also widely available online. Save On Medical is a good example of how technology has made finding the best healthcare services easier.
As more technological advancements get implemented across the health care industry, concerns about privacy and information security continue to appear. Where do we stand on these two matters?

HIPAA and Information Security

The healthcare industry is actually quick in implementing security measures during the implementation of health IT. The industry is used to safeguarding patients’ information, so transforming existing standards to protect the cloud where electronic records are stored was not really a problem.
The introduction of HIPAA also adds a more defined set of standards to follow when it comes to privacy and information security. All solution providers must follow the same set of standards and be HIPAA-compliant before they can start offering solutions and systems to health service providers.
As far as the systems are concerned, privacy and information security are never an issue. That said there are still possible areas where information leaks and theft could occur, along with a number of ethical problems that need to be addressed before the transformation is completed.

Knowing How to Protect Your Medical Information

You, the consumer-driven patient, are holding the most important key to protecting your medical information. EHRs are usually encrypted and patients can use their own encryption key for maximum security. The same can be said for cloud-stored electronic health records. Patients can choose to grant temporary access to the doctor or physician in charge if necessary. This is usually done by creating a temporary user with proper access clearance.
New access management and information security systems are also adding advanced controls and features, putting security further ahead. These features are designed to give patients maximum control over information security, including how EHRs are stored and accessed. Even better, your entire set of EHRs can also be stored offline for safe keeping. Should the servers fail, you will still have a copy of your medical records.

Ethics and Situational Problems

According to studies compiled by Ohio University and its online MHA program, there are situations that can potentially lead to ethical dilemmas. When a patient is incapable of granting access to his or her EHRs, for instance, should the doctor be allowed to access the information anyway?
Since the implementation of information technology in healthcare is yet to reach its mature stage, there will still be plenty of similar questions to answer. Thankfully, the online master of healthcare administration in strategy department and the innovation department are working together with government entities to come up with the best answers. It is safe to say that privacy and information security will never be a concern; at least not in the near future.
Learn more about how Save On Medical can help you be a smarter health care spender in 2017.