Health Information
Confidentiality
Statement of the Issue
Many people consider information about their health to be highly sensitive, deserving of the strong...
Policy Position
The American College of Healthcare Executives believes that in addition to following all applicable
state ...
Health information confidentiality
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Health information confidentiality

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James E. Noon, Jr.
MHA 690 Health Care Capstone
Instructor: David Cole

Published in: Education
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Health information confidentiality

  1. 1. Health Information Confidentiality
  2. 2. Statement of the Issue Many people consider information about their health to be highly sensitive, deserving of the strongest protection under the law. Doctor-patient privilege have been the mainstay of privacy protection for decades. Scores of personnel must have access to intimate patient information and patients must feel free to reveal personal information. It is vital that healthcare providers treat patient information confidentially and protect its security. Maintaining confidentiality is becoming more difficult. Personal information contained in medical records is reviewed by scores of personnel who have a need to access the information therein. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) was enacted to protect the confidentiality of patient health information. Protected health information (PHI) can only be used or disclosed by covered entities and their business associates for purposes of treatment, payment or healthcare operations without the patient’s consent. While media representatives also seek access to health information, particularly when a patient is a public figure or when treatment involves legal or public health issues, the rights of individual patients must be protected. Society’s need for information rarely outweighs the right of patients to confidentiality.
  3. 3. Policy Position The American College of Healthcare Executives believes that in addition to following all applicable state laws and HIPAA, healthcare executives have a moral and professional obligation to respect confidentiality and protect the security of patients’ medical records. We, as patient advocates, must follow carefully defined policies and applicable laws in those cases for which the release of information without consent is indicated. In fulfilling their responsibilities, healthcare executives should seek to: 1. Limit access to patient information to authorized individuals only. 2. Educate healthcare personnel on confidentiality and data security requirements. 3. Take necessary steps to ensure all healthcare personnel are aware of and understand their responsibilities to keep patient information confidential and secure. 4. Implement physical safeguards to protect medical record files against unauthorized access. 5. Conduct periodic data security audits and risk assessments. 6. Develop systems that enable organizations to track who accessed health records. 7. Establish policies and procedures to provide to the patient an accounting of uses and disclosures of the patient’s health information. 8. Create guidelines for securing necessary permissions for the release of medical information for research, education, utilization review and other purposes. 9. Follow all applicable policies and procedures regarding privacy of patient information even if information is in the public domain. 10. Educate patients about organizational policies on confidentiality and use the notice of privacy practices as required by the HIPAA Privacy Rule.

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