ITGS portfolio Privacy and security issues that arise when using Health Information Technology to manage your information.

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Portfolio Assignment #2

Privacy and security issues that arise when using Health Information Technology to manage your information.

Area of Impact: 3.3 Health

October 5, 2010

Word Count: 999

News Item:

Presentation of the Issue

        Personal Health Records (PHR), Electronic Health Records (EHR) and Electronic Prescribing (eRx) are all forms of the Health Information Technology (HIT).  HIT has become very popular in the past few years because it can benefit both the client and the doctors by managing health care information in an efficient way.  Advantages that come along with using HIT would be reducing the amount of paperwork needed for medical records, reducing errors in prescriptions when reading doctor’s handwriting and reducing the employment salary by eliminating workers that maintain medical records.

        Although many articles have agreed that “The advantages of EHR are extensive and no one can argue that point.  ”There can be consequences and disadvantages when using this type of technology to store personal information.  Just like most communication systems, issues regarding security and privacy can arise.  Problems like that can occur because many organizations, doctors, specialists and family members have access to your health information.  Another issue that may apply would be the equality of access and the ability to actually use this system.  Most family households have access to Internet, but a lot of seniors don’t, and the elder population is what makes up most of the clients.  Not only would most seniors not be able to access it, users who are not tech-savvy might not be able to access HIT, or it might take the user a while to utilize the system and understand the capabilities of it.

Information Technology Background of the Issue

        Health information first started out to be stored in folders and files in offices and hospitals, which can be very dangerous and hard to manage.  Now that new technology is being discovered every second of every day, we no longer need the large amount of space and the complicated pile of paperwork to keep personal health information of individuals in the society.  With more efficiency and convenience, HIT was founded a decade ago and the amount of users for this form of technology has increased greatly since.  This online database program was created to make access to one’s health information easier for not only the client, but also to doctors and different organizations.  It can also help doctors better understand the patient’s medical needs by putting all of the client’s health information into an analysis and figuring out patterns from results from various doctors, hospitals or specialists.

        Using the HIT can cause many issues to come up without the individual knowing.  Because using HIT can be so efficient and convenient for clients, they may easily forget the risks of using it and give personal information away.  HIT is a communication system that can simply cause theft of identity, threatening of one’s privacy, reliability towards technology and degrading of efficiency.

Impact of the Issue:

        As this form of technology becomes more familiar to people of the society, there is an increase of reliability and authenticity issues.   ”Legal issues have arisen regarding who should and could have the right and access to the personal health information”, because at the moment, health information is available electronically to many different organizations and individuals.  It seems like the use to paperwork to keep all health information is not reliable because in the event of a fire, all information may be loss, however, it is much easier to get information through HIT because it is easier for thieves to hack into an account than to steal a folder in an office or hospital.  Privacy concerns have erupted over several years where thieves would get access to personal and health information of a client through HIT, which results in medical identity theft.  This allows the thieves to use your money to pay for medical services. Also, the information available online could be used inappropriately and sent to universities or in any organizations that one would like to enroll in.  Even though discrimination against people who have or had an illness is illegal, employers tend to take information regarding health into account, therefore, threatening the client’s privacy.  

        The use of communication systems can also cause loss of employment and loss of human touch.  With the establishment of eRx, pharmacists are no longer required to communicate with clients because, prescribed medication can go right to the door of the client.  Human touch would be lost between clients and doctors as the doctors will no longer be commenting based on their personal observations in their own words, but instead, ticking off boxes or filling out forms in a vague manner.

Solution for the Issue:

        Ways of protecting health information can be as easy as just knowing that there are consequences for using HIT to something as complicated as changing the laws.  It is extremely important to remember to never leak out personal information to strangers, and to understand that there is privacy and security issues when using HIT.  Authentication and authorization are two keys words for a user to identify.  If the user has a password or something to confirm their identity, then it would decrease the chance of hacking.  As for authorization, it is important for the client to limit the amount of people who have access to the health information, so that if issues do arise, it would be easier to control the flow of information.  For doctors and other health specialists, it is crucial and the law to keep health information of clients private and secured.  Both new and old staff members from health offices and hospitals should be reminded the privacy rules for inheriting personal health information from clients and each all information secure.  

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        The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is an act that helps deal with privacy and security issues regarding the usage of HIT, their goal is to give the users more trust and confidence when using HIT.  HIPAA has created The Privacy Rule, which is a Federal Law that gives your rights to your own health information and so that users can set rules and limits on who can access the information.  In the present, HIPAA is still trying to perfect The Privacy Rule so using HIT would be safer.


  1. Bihari, Michael. “Using Health ...

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