There has been a significant increase in medical tourism Americans. More than 1 million Americans are expected to travel outside the U.S. to seek medical treatment this year. Some of the most common treatments sought by Americans include dental procedures, coronary bypass, and cosmetic surgery. Canada and Mexico are some of the popular destinations of American medical tourists. Americans move abroad to seek medical treatment that is not available in the U.S. or for which the patients are not eligible. For example, an individual may travel to Mexico to remove a certain part of the stomach to facilitate weight loss if the individual is not eligible for the medical procedure in the U.S. In addition, certain technology that has not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) may be available in other countries. Therefore, Americans may travel to the countries to access the technology. Medical tourism raises several ethical issues that should be addressed. It raises the question as to whether doctors or patients should be held accountable for undertaking medical procedures that are illegal in the home countries. However, since medical tourism helps in improving the health status of Americans it should be encouraged (Hall, 2013).
Electronic medical records contain information that is beyond the standard clinical data. It provides information from all clinicians that take part in patient care. All authorized clinicians who are involved in care of the patient have access to the information. The clinicians may share the information with other healthcare providers who may include laboratories and specialists. On the other hand, personal health records contain information that is similar to the information contained in electronic medical records but can only be set up and accessed by the patient. Patients use personal health records to manage their health. They can store the information in secure environment. Personal health records also contain information from different clinicians (Iyer, Levin & Shea, 2006).
Healthcare is one of the most personal services. Yet despite the personal nature of the service, it is vital for various people to have access to health information to provide appropriate care. Patients must be free to reveal personal information. However, this would not be the case if the patient feels that the confidentiality of the personal information is compromised (Killion & Dempski, 2006).
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