Nothing exposes the many underlying issues in the healthcare sector better than the current pandemic. Hospitals and other points of care ought to be locations where people rush when ill. That happens because the public exhibits trust with the hospitals, doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals providing the care (Lintern & Motavalli, 2018). Nonetheless, COVID-19 has changed almost everything; not even the healthcare professionals are willing to spend time in the hospitals, while large numbers of people shun attending hospitals, but for the critically ill lot.
The fear of conducting COVID-19, coupled with hospitals and governments’ inability to offer the necessary tools to manage the situation, are the leading causes of the current confusion. Patients are dying on hospitals’ corridors, while the dissatisfied medics take the suffering patients’ photographs to share them online as a way of demonstration against the present status. The whole issue leaves patients in great danger, that is why a lasting solution must be implemented.
The present paper acquires its bases from the current condition in healthcare facilities around the world. Conflicts between medics, their employers, and the governments continuously deteriorate the quality of care granted to the masses. Misunderstandings in the healthcare sector often push the seemingly weaker side, the medics, to violate basic rules and laws to get heard. Healthcare technology, for example, constitutes one of the most misused facets in the (healthcare) sector presently. The present work thus covers the issue of informatics’ misapplication, particularly in the violation of patients’ privacy rules, and what can be done to correct the matter.
The discussion proceeds by covering several aspects that touch on the implementation of technology in the healthcare sector. The work also covers the fundamental rules and laws that govern healthcare data security, the various ways in which medics violate them, and the legal guidelines on using technology in care delivery. Moreover, the work covers a specific scenario concerning the violation of informatics’ regulation and the specific recommendation to avert the matter. The discussion then offers both the benefits and demerits of informatics in the healthcare sector, based on research, before tackling the primary ethical considerations to apply in healthcare informatics. Lastly, it ends with the conclusion and reflections section, which provide possible policy changes that stand to improve the current status quo.
HIPAA, Legal, and Regulatory Discussion
Technology controls almost every facet of life in today’s world. The invention’s ability to manage information, forecast future trends and reduce physical space requirements make it more crucial in all sectors. The healthcare industry is one of the many highly impacted areas by technology. The application of computers in hospitals and clinics, for example, impacts patients’ privacy in an unfathomable manner. Gone are the times when doctors and nurses had to go into sizeable dusty data rooms to search for physical patients’ medical history forms. The professionals need a tablet that provides all the patient’s medical data with a single click or touch.
Computer technology’s adoption in the healthcare sector is also responsible for the realization of electronic health records (EHRs), which also significantly boosts privacy. The invention (EHR) eliminates the issue of physical medical forms and the requirement of large data cabins that lack backups (Cornelissen et al., 2016). EHR also manages the issue of unauthorized entities accessing confidential information regarding patients’ medical information (Elliott et al., 2020). Nonetheless, Cornelissen et al. (2016) argue that EHR is a significantly weak invention without the implementation of the appropriate regulations. An example of such regulation concerns the need to confidentially handle patients’ medical data.
Scenario Ending and Recommendations
The scenario at the RUA healthcare facility during the COVID-19 pandemic offers an excellent platform to examine the effectiveness of utilizing technology in the hospitals and the risks related to the move. RUA’s critical patient care unit lacks the necessary medics to patients’ ratio. The facility’s inability to manage the pressure caused by the pandemic allows a majority of the medical staff to quit jobs for other better employers. The supply of PPEs in the hospital is wanting, and nurses have to reuse the protective gears for about a month. The move contributes directly to the fall of the medics to patients’ ratio from 1:6 to 1:20.
The work burden at RUA forces many patients to wait long before seeing a physician; some patients even die in the queue and the situation is displeasing to everyone involved. Nurses take photographs of the suffering patients and share them with the media to have their concerns addressed. The act by the caregivers involves significant informatics and the capturing of patients’ images and suffering (or dead) bodies amounts to a violation of basic informatics’ regulations. An effective way of regulating the behavior concerns banning communication gadgets’ utilization during work among the medics. Cornelissen et al. (2016) say that such a move promises to promote patients’ privacy and boost the medics’ commitment and adherence to quality care delivery.
Advantages and Disadvantages
The appropriate utilization of technology in the healthcare sector exhibits both benefits and demerits. Examples of the advantages of utilizing technology in the healthcare sector include promoting data security, providing better care, tasks simplification, and increasing collaboration. The EHR facet, for example, provides one of the most outstanding positive elements of using technology in the care provision area. ERH systems work by establishing a data management cloud that is accessible from different platforms. ERH also stands out due to its ability to combine and maintain an updated health history of many patients. The systems are mainly accessible to medics and insurance organizations staff, who operate under oath to protect the patients’ information Cornelissen et al. (2016). However, caution is necessary against the blind adoption of technology in the care delivery sector.
Ransom attacks on the ERH systems by cybercriminals cost hospitals significantly. The inability among many medics to comply with the set data security regulations exposes ERH schemes to the cybercriminals’ danger. Tembani et al. (2017), for example, describe the adverse effects of nurses’ access to medical records over the public internet, thus exposing the data to possible attacks. Failing to log out after accessing the EHR system also creates noteworthy risks to the use of the technology. As such, ERH’s proficient and ethical principles maintain the need to comply with the set codes concerning aspects like accessing the ERH system from a safe point. Other vital regulations touching on the matter include the need to refrain from handling and sharing patients’ medical information using personal gadgets, as it happened in the above scenario.
Conclusion and Reflections
A major takeaway from the present work concerns the need to embrace the basic regulations regarding health records management. The work aids in understanding that nurses and doctors have no immunity on matters technology regulations’ implementations. Clearly, the issue of using patients’ information and images for whistleblowing purposes, for example, seemed alright before the current assignment. Nonetheless, the research conducted during the assignment aids to clear the aid. Capturing patients’ sufferings and sharing them online is a significant violation of the HIPAA provisions concerning medical data privacy.
The idea of accessing medical information via personal gadgets is also highly ridiculed by the present work. The various takeaways thus stand to inform the operations of concerned medics and, therefore, help promote the provided quality of care in many hospitals.
Cornelissen, E., Mitton, C., Davidson, A., Reid, C., Hole, R., Visockas, A.-M., & Smith, N. (2016). Fit for purpose? Introducing a rational priority setting approach into a community care setting. Journal of Health Organization and Management, 30(4), 690–710. Web.
Elliott, R. A., Chan, A., Godbole, G., Hendrix, I., Pont, L. G., Sfetcopoulos, D., Woodward, J., & Munro, C. (2020). Standard of practice in geriatric medicine for pharmacy services. Journal of Pharmacy Practice and Research, 50(1), 82–97. Web.
Lintern, G., & Motavalli, A. (2018). Healthcare information systems: The cognitive challenge. BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making, 18(1), 1-10. Web.
Tembani, N. M., van Rooyen, R. M. D., ten Ham-Baloyi, W., & Pretorius, B. (2017). Evidence-based recommendations to facilitate professional collaboration between allopathic and traditional health practitioners. Health Sa Gesondheid, 22(1), 291–299. Web.