EMR and Your Privacy
EMR eliminates the need to repeat information already given by a patient to their doctor if they have decided to use another because of its sharing capabilities. With information being so easily accessible, privacy issues become a genuine concern.
It is a relief to know that in the case of an emergency you won't have to rack your brain to supply medical representatives with information about your medical history that you may have already submitted. It is an even bigger relief to get diagnosed and treated quickly when you are burdened with a medical issue that doesn't allow you the luxury of time. This is all possible at a lower cost to the patient in some instances because of EMR. As beneficial as that may be, because recording and transmitting data is prone to security flaws, there is a genuine cause for concern when it comes to privacy.
EMR has been proven to be the preferred method of keeping track of patient data because of the impact on the efficiency of operations. As with all systems that contain information about persons that are very private in nature, it is understandable that those persons would be concerned about the protection of their information. Medical issues are not something that people are comfortable sharing other than with their doctor. Medical institutions have to be careful with who it can grant access to patient records especially in emergency situations when someone other than the patient or the doctor is seeking that information. Accidental or deliberate sharing of information to unauthorized persons can have legal consequences.
Although HIPAA provides guidelines on how health information about a patient can be shared electronically there is still confusion about who has the right to access records. Institutions that use third party services for EMR do not fall under HIPAA and as a result has no restrictions about how the information should be shared. Websites that allow patients to develop their own personal heath records online do not conform to HIPAA and may sell or distribute the information without any concern for privacy. This is a serious issue. People rarely ever read the fine print when using websites that provide personal health record services and as a result they miss the important bits of information that pertain to their privacy concerns.
No system is full proof, which essentially means that in spite of the security measures that an institution puts in place to prevent hackers from getting in, there is always the possibility that it could fail. Aside from retrieving personal health records without authorized access, some hackers can also delete files rendering the information lost forever. This is a major inconvenience for the patient and the healthcare provider that keeps their records. EMR may be the best solution to enhance efficiency but it is not infallible.
EMR has its flaws where security is concerned as with all systems. This is something that has to be continually looked at to improve the protection of patient records.
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|EMR and Your Privacy page created by Kent Chaitoff|