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August 28, 2012

Term Paper on Protecting Patients and Customers Privacy


Protecting Patients and Customers Privacy
Introduction
Health is the very significant and prominent factor in every community. There could be several reasons of this importance but the most important reason is that, healthy nation always contribute towards the wealth of the country. So keeping this importance in mind health issues always considered as a topic of high involvement.  The issue of medical records confidentiality is making waves throughout Washington as the federal government attempts to create laws that will protect the privacy of Americans, yet not hinder national priorities, such as public health, research and quality and cost-effective care. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 requires Congress to pass medical records confidentiality legislation by August 1999 or it will fall to Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala to promulgate regulations on privacy protections within the following six months.
This buzzing backing of the significance of confidentiality in the stipulation of health action comes from the U.S. Supreme Court (Jaffee v. Redmond, 1996). The Court’s verbal communication, in a choice making an analyst licence in Federal court, comes into view to go away little hesitation that there is minor road legal defence for the code of confidentiality. Public view polls also show extensive hold for the solitude of health care information: 85 percent of those reacting to one survey branded protective the solitude of check-up records as necessary or very significant (Denley, 1999, P: 174-178).
Yet the realism is much more multifaceted. State and Federal laws do defend the privacy of health care information, including information shaped in as long as mental health and matter mistreatment dealing. However, these laws have many exceptions, are not in agreement from state to state, and, in the view of many experts, provide less defence of privacy than is justified (Amara, 2002).

Importance of Privacy in healthcare industry
The trouncing of privacy seems to be an inevitable termination in the information age. Polls demonstrate that mainly Americans suppose they have lost all management over the use of individual information by corporations. Americans are also worried about the intimidation posed by individuality robbery and fake internet dishonesty like phishing. People are knowledge the firm method to hold back information except it is totally essential to reveal it. Being tactful has turned out to be a continued existence tool for the information age.
Confidentiality is a key element of health care, which has up till now to see prevalent use of information technology. Preservation information from health care suppliers to defend one’s solitude is not good for one’s health. For instance, a patient who goes to the urgent situation room with heart problem may be uncomfortable to reveal Viagra use but contribution that information is important because Viagra is risky for patients when shared with convinced heart medicine. Patients require feeling protected when sharing individual information; they require to be acquainted with it will be kept confidential.
Information technology intimidates confidentiality even as it makes our lives more opportune and our financial system more industrious. Digitized patient accounts can be copied and broadcast frequently at almost no cost different paper-based records. That is both a difficulty and an occasion. It means doctors, health care specialized, and patients themselves can have prepared admission to whole health care records. At the similar time, it means that the number of people who may have right of entry to the most confidential details of one’s life rises exponentially (Austin, 2004).
A key fraction of the declaration of this quandary is to give patients management over who has right of entry to their health care information. This objective could be achieved through an electronic health record (EHR) account. The explanation would enclose all of a patient’s scientific information and health check history as well as individual information that patients enter themselves. Patients would found these accounts through confidential third party organizations called self-governing health record trusts (IHRTs). IHRTs would let go information from a patient’s EHR account only with a patient’s permission. The deal could be as straightforward as a patient giving the doctor’s office a compelling swipe card. Representatives Dennis Moore (D-Kan.) and Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Senator Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) have planned legislation to create IHRTs.
Many supporters for health information skill do not see confidentiality protection as an essential condition for its general use. As an alternative, they see it as minor subject or as a something that must be unprejudiced with other competing needs. For instance, when deciding to let health care suppliers reveal patient information devoid of patient permission in 2002, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services “unbiased the confidentiality implications of uses and disclosures for conduct, imbursement, and health care processes, and the require for these centre activities to persist.” More newly, a workgroup organized by HHS is trying to “equilibrium the needs between suitable information defence and right of entry to hold up” for patients. Even though this point of view may resonance logical, in fact, it poses a bogus choice between privacy and health care (FOSTER, 2001).
Consumer privacy
Consumer privacy rules and system look for to guard any individual from thrashing of privacy due to breakdown or limits of company client privacy measures. They are recognizable with that the injure done by solitude loss is characteristically not quantifiable, nor can it be unfasten, and that for profit organizations have small or no attention in taking unbeneficial way to radically add to solitude of customers - certainly, their incentive is extremely frequently fairly the conflicting, to split data for profit benefit, and to be unsuccessful to formally familiar with it as responsive, so as to keep away from legal responsibility for lapses of refuge that may happen.
Consumer privacy anxiety date back to the primary business-related couriers and bankers, who in each civilization took physically powerful measures to defend customer privacy, but also in each civilization tended to be topic to very cruel disciplinary measures for breakdown to stay a customer's information confidential. The Hippocratic Oath includes a prerequisite for doctors to stay away from mentioning ills of patients to others, not merely to defend them, but to defend their families - the similar essential thought as contemporary consumer privacy law and directive, which distinguishes that blameless third parties can be damage by the defeat of management of receptive information, and that consequently there is a blame beyond that to the client or consumer. Nowadays the ethical codes of for the most part line of work extremely without a doubt spell out privacy measures away from that for the 'consumer' of a subjective service. Those measures are talked about in other articles on check-up solitude, client privacy and nationwide security - and to an extent in carceral state (where no solitude in any shape nor limits on state failure to notice or information use exist) (FULLAN, 1998).
Ethical Issues about Confidentiality
Every occupation that provides health management embraces confidentiality as a centre moral code. For instance, the Code of Ethics of the American Medical Association (AMA) explains that “a doctor . . . shall defend a patient’s self-assurances within the fetters of the law” (American Medical Association [AMA], 1996). The AMA additional just has experiential that “patients have an essential right to solitude of their check-up information and files . . . patients’ seclusion should be privileged unless surrender by the patient in a significant way, or in uncommon examples of powerfully countervailing community attention” (AMA, 1998). The Ethical Principles of Psychologists declare that “psychologists have a main compulsion and take sensible safety measures to admiration . . . privacy rights” (American Psychological Association, 1992), American Managed Behavioral Healthcare Association, 1998; American Psychiatric Association, 1998; National Alliance for the Mentally Ill, 1998) (Hill, 2000).
While the significance of privacy as a moral standard is obvious from these declarations, it is too obvious that privacy is not a total worth. The AMA’s 1996 declaration meets the criteria the standard of privacy by watching that it is to be secluded “inside the fetters of the law.” The American Psychological Association gives exceptions as well, noting for instance that revelation of or else secret information is allowable “where permitted by rule for a suitable reason, such as. . . to defend the patient or customer from damage” (Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct, 5.05). As the conversation below proposes, the rules create many situations in which confidentiality may or must be breached. At the same time, lawful main beliefs reproduce broader principles, and so there is frequently important difference about the exceptions to privacy that the law consents or needs (BENYON, & EDWARDS, 2001, pp. 145-167).

Role of Technology in Patients Privacy
Technology also has come out as a main subject in solitude debates. The final crash of skill is not yet obvious. One leading specialist on the solitude of health care information asked whether expertise would assist or hold back the defence of health care solitude, reacted that the reply was yes and no (Gellman, in press). On the one hand, new technologies can hold up, and in a number of cases create likely, the alterations that have distorted the health care business. The “health information technology industry” in 1997 sold about $15 billion of products to health care associations, including check-up business decision-support software, data warehousing, scientific specialist systems, and electronic health check record systems intended to hold up big health care enterprises (BENYON, & EDWARDS, 2001, pp. 145-167).
With the fast-paced technology and the spread of managed care, traditionally protected medical records are now in the hands of pharmaceutical benefits managers, managed care networks, medical research networks, employers and more. The very nature of managed care is shared information, using that information to improve quality of cost effectiveness of care. Managed care entities share information with providers, physicians and pharmaceutical companies, making healthcare a team effort. Providers are spending millions of dollars on computer information systems to support disease management to help standardize treatments and decrease costs.
Medical records travel the information superhighway and are used for commerce and scientific research. Along the way, thousands of eyes read these confidential records, from health researchers seeking improved treatments to corporate managers working to slash costs to drug company marketers searching for new customers. Yet managed care companies, employers and drug companies need to implement strategies to keep medical records secure from those who have no business reading them (Letsch, et al. 2005).

Government goals
The Obama administration's goal is to help create a seamless nationwide records system that eventually may involve a "universal patient identifier," the equivalent of a Social Security number for each patient. The identifier system would help improve communication among the many agencies and companies involved in healthcare, experts said. The system could help control healthcare costs. Help combat fraud, help check the spread of disease and support authorized medical research into new cures and treatments for certain conditions.
But some experts warn Americans need to get used to the idea that privacy is a thing of the past. Many argue the security of computer systems is much better than the old system of paper records, yet talented hackers can break into the most sophisticated of computer systems, including the Pentagon.
"There are tradeoffs between privacy and the goods society gets from medicine. And information is the life's blood of the modern healthcare system. The public should get reasonable assurances that when their personal information is collected. The healthcare system will treat it with respect, store it securely and disclose it only for important health purposes."

Healthcare Institutions role in patient Privacy
"Look at what kind of protection program is in place for employees who violate the law and share information out of the database.”It's a high priority to protect patients' medical records. Focus on how to protect information from misuse." Healthcare institutions suggest employers take a proactive approach to medical records privacy, starting with creating a carefully crafted written policy. The policy should discuss patients' rights, right of patient to consent, patients' rights to see audits, trail of where records go, staff's responsibilities to protect patient information, requirement of vendors to comply with company's policies and mandated training. Also, prepare policies to deal with if there is a leak -- how to investigate a claim of a leak. You usually can track this on the new computer systems. You also need to formulate a plan to assess the system; why did this happen?

Patients and Customer Privacy in Contemporary World
As we enter a new century, we will continue to experience the benefits of technological advancements. We have entered the "information age," and computers have fundamentally changed our world. Slowly, the days where bills and records are stored in large filing cabinets are going by the wayside. Now, virtually all information is at your fingertips. Hard drives and the Internet hold our vital information, from banking to medical records. Banks use this technology to reduce administrative costs resulting in lower fees for customers. Researchers can use medical information to track health patterns resulting in lower healthcare costs and more lives saved (Hill, 2000).
With information becoming more accessible, however, many people are finding that what they thought was personal information can now be obtained by employers, marketers and other various groups. It used to be that your medical files were contained in a paper folder in the doctor's office. If someone wanted to see your files, they would have to ask your doctor who, unless there was a prevailing reason, would have said "no."

Now, with electronic medical information being continually swapped between doctors, insurance companies and other organizations, our medical records are open for almost anyone to get their hands on. Marketers could use this information to target their advertisements. More importantly, employers could adversely use this information to deny promotions to their employees, or even fire someone based on something in their medical records.
A new, heavily charged debate has emerged in Washington over the right to medical privacy. I believe that it should be up to patients to decide who they want to have access to their health information. Patients also should have assurances that healthcare facilities where they are treated are going to protect their sensitive medical information.

Quality in Healthcare
Quality healthcare is dependent on patients being able to trust that their medical information will remain private and confidential. The doctor-patient relationship is one of the most important aspects to quality healthcare. Patients must be completely open and honest with their physicians if they are to receive the most appropriate treatment. Failure to disclose all symptoms to a physician can lead to serious health problems. A perceived lack of confidentiality could lead to death for some patients who are unwilling to disclose medical problems for fear of them becoming public.
Also, a fear of disclosure would cripple treatment of mental health due to the stigma that society attaches to mental health diseases. Unless action is taken to secure medical records, we will see continued erosion in the quality of healthcare. Our founding fathers believed strongly in the right to personal privacy. For two centuries we have taken steps to ensure that citizens' personal privacy would not be unduly infringed (Crook, 2003).
Conclusion
Health information system is the most effective means for better patient treatment and care. It facilitates the health institutions to treat the patients in much more effective manner by acquiring new and modern techniques of the information system. It is unsure how privacy laws relate to non-health care suppliers. It is also indistinct whether the distribution of patient-identifying information to a non-health care supplier is allowable devoid of an attendant reason involving action, quality declaration, or claims imbursement. All these things make the health care system effective and efficient for the patients.
The new millennium will create many opportunities for America and its citizens, but also many challenges. New technologies will increase our economic output and standard of living, but also will challenge our ability to protect the fundamental rights that founded this country.
When Congress reconvenes it will deliberate measures to protect medical privacy. We will have an opportunity to strengthen our healthcare system and reaffirm citizens' basic right to privacy. Although there is a strong desire to pass a bill protecting medical confidentiality, no clear consensus has emerged on what will be included in any final legislation. I hope that everyone can agree that patients should determine who or who does not have access to their medical records and ensure that Americans' privacy is protected.

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