Medical Records – I just read that Huping Zhou, a cardiothoracic surgeon, was sentenced to four months in jail and a $2,000 fine for looking at patients’ health records without permission or reason. Apparently, laws are getting stricter for health care employees who access records without permission.
That’s one less thing to worry about when it comes to the medical field becoming more electronic-based.
A major concern among patients in the health care field is their privacy. As medical records become accessible (and only accessible) via a computer system, hackers are always a concern, along with the easy access of records that health care employees have.
However, this concern is well-known, which is why rules, laws and practices are being implemented now to protect patients’ privacy. According to American Medical News, there are a few ways hospitals and health care facilities can begin to protect their patients’ privacy as the electronic shift takes place:
- Criminal background and credit checks on employees and new-hires of health care facilities
- Create rules and practices that prevent the need for an employee to see a patient’s record
- Make it well-known that strict laws are enforced for patient privacy whether harm is done to a patient or not
- Implement strict and quick termination of employees strategies to prevent further jeopardization of patients’ files
- Stay up-to-date on HIPAA and AMA guidelines
American Medical News reported that this was not an isolated incident and happens all the time, but charges and laws are helping prevent this and fine, fire or jail perpetrators. If you have concerns about your privacy, talking to a member of your health care facility that you trust is a good first step.
Medical Records and Post by Kate Valdovinos.
Information obtained from http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2010/06/07/bisb0607.htm.
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