NR-512 – Safeguarding Health Information and Systems

What wording would you include in a document that each staff member must sign before being allowed access to the information systems in your workplace?

Safeguarding Health Information and Systems

There is inevitable need to show a commitment to the promotion of the health information systems in order to ensure that there is improved efficiency, reduction in medical errors, improved quality of care, and provision of better information for the physicians and patients.Therefore, there are a number of ethical and legal aspects that must be incorporated in a document that the health staff members must sign prior to being allowed access to the information systems of the organization.

First, there is need to uphold the patient trust as the health system practitioners continue to adopt and use an Electronic Health Records (EHR) or any other electronic technology for the collection and use of electronic Protected health Information (ePHI), and to ensure compliance with the HIPAA Security Rule and Meaningful Use requirements. Therefore, the health care practice must undertake a security risk analysis/ assessment. The risk analysis process gives guidance through a systematic evaluationof the several aspects of the health care practice to identify the potential security weaknesses (O’Carroll, 2013).Secondly, the aspect of strong cybersecurity practices is an important area to ensure being put in place to protection organizational assets, health practice operations, patient and personnel information, and thus compliance with the HIPAA Security Rule.

Moreover, safeguarding the health information and systems is achieved through such health care programs sponsored or administered by the Federal Government which promote efficient and quality delivery of health care through the use of interoperable health IT, transparent health care price and quality, and better incentives for the providers, enrollees, and beneficiaries of the program (Afifi, Rice, Andersen, Rosenstock & Kominski, 2013). Furthermore, there should be advancement towards a modern health information system by ensuring that each agency acquires, upgrades or implements health information technology systems which are used for the direct exchange of health information between various agencies and non-Federal entities. The agencies must ensure utilization of the health information technology systems and products which meet well-stipulated interoperability standards.

Additionally, it is of great essence to safeguard personal health information to the countrywide strategy for health IT. Putting in place a strategy devoid of measures to ensure security and privacy do not advance neither the interest of the health care providers nor the interest of the beneficiaries of such health care programs. The strategy of Health and Human Services (HHS) recognizes the importance of collaboration with both the private and public sectors, inclusive of the representation from consumers of health care services (Rodrigues, 2010). A number of health care activities rely on public input, deliverables from different contracts, and recommendations given by Federal advisory committees with a wide range of IT sector and health care collaborators. Achieving safeguarding of health information systems is based on adoption of a nationwide health IT within a framework of a coordinated effort of many stakeholder, within both Federal and state governments and the private sector. This would involve engaging representatives of all these sectors in various health IT initiatives –an engagement involving several processes and the work of thousands of participants.

The Health and Human Services (HHS) has ensured establishment of projects focused on the development and harmonization of security and privacy standards. HHS initiated the Healthcare Information Technology Standards Panel (HITSP), which focuses on the harmonization of standards such as those in relation to privacy and security concerns (Kushniruk & Borycki, 2011).Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) has continued to work in partnership with the Certificate Commission for Healthcare Information Technology (CCHIT) to formulate certificate criteria for electronic health networks and records(Afifi, Rice, Andersen, Rosenstock & Kominski, 2013). The Department has been advancing the Nationwide Health Information Network (NHIN) Initiative, which ensures that the consumers have an active role in defining the uses of their health information while supporting state and local policies.

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