NURS 5051/6051 Week 10: Ethical and Security Issues of HIT Essay Assignment Paper

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NURS 5051/6051 Week 10: Ethical and Security Issues of HIT Essay Assignment Paper

Recent headlines have covered a rash of security breaches at companies around the globe. Millions of customers and clients have had their information stolen by hackers or lost through careless data handling. With the push for switching medical records from paper to digital, people have expressed concerns about the safety and security of this information. How much faith can patients put into a health care provider’s commitment to privacy, ethical standards, and careful protection of health care information?

The transition to digital communication presents ethical and security issues never before encountered. Despite the concerns generated by the digital paradigm shift, the key values of privacy, confidentiality, autonomy, and non-maleficence still can provide a framework for decision making in the context of health information technology. The question that health care professionals encounter when contemplating HIT is how well these ethical and security frameworks withstand the test of time as privacy and security issues grow more complex.

This week you explore the ethical and security issues that nurses need to be aware of when working with sensitive, private information. You also appraise strategies for ensuring the security of patient information.

Learning Objectives

Students will:

  • Analyze the responsibility of nurses to protect patient information
  • Appraise strategies for ensuring the appropriate use of technology that facilitates the security of patient information

With the increase of health information technology used to store and access patient information, the likelihood of security breaches has also risen. In fact, according to the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ):

In the United States, there was a whopping 97% increase in the number of health records breached from 2010 to 2011… The number of patient records accessed in each breach has also increased substantially, from 26,968 (in 2010) to 49,394 (in 2011). Since August 2009, when the US government regulated that any breach affecting more than 500 patients be publicly disclosed, a total of 385 breaches, involving more than 19 million records, have been reported to the Department of Health and Human Services.

A large portion of those breaches, 39%, occurred because of a lost, stolen, or otherwise compromised portable electronic device—a problem that will likely only get worse as iPads, smartphones, and other gadgets become more common in hospitals. (CMAJ, 2012, p. E215).

Consider your own experiences. Does your organization use portable electronic devices? What safeguards are in place to ensure the security of data and patient information? For this Discussion you consider ethical and security issues surrounding the protection of digital health information.

To prepare

  • Review the Learning Resources dealing with the security of digital health care information. Reflect on your own organization or one with which you are familiar, and think about how health information stored electronically is protected.
  • Consider the nurse’s responsibility to ensure the protection of patient information. What strategies can you use?
  • Reflect on ethical issues that are likely to arise with the increased access to newer, smaller, and more powerful technology tools.
  • Consider strategies that can be implemented to ensure that the use of HIT contributes to an overall culture of safety.

By Day 3

Post an analysis of the nurse’s responsibility to protect patient information and the extent that HIT has made it easier or more difficult to protect patient privacy. Comment on any security or ethical issues related to the use of portable devices to store information. Assess the strategies your organization uses to safeguard patient information and how these promote a culture of safety. Describe an area where improvement is needed and one strategy that could address the situation.

By Day 6

Respond to at least two of your colleagues on two different days using one or more of the following approaches:

  • Ask a probing question, substantiated with additional background information, evidence or research.
  • Share an insight from having read your colleagues’ postings, synthesizing the information to provide new perspectives.
  • Offer and support an alternative perspective using readings from the classroom or from your own research in the Walden Library.
  • Validate an idea with your own experience and additional research.
  • Make a suggestion based on additional evidence drawn from readings or after synthesizing multiple postings.
  • Expand on your colleagues’ postings by providing additional insights or contrasting perspectives based on readings and evidence.

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