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Administrative Ethics Essay

1207 words - 5 pages

There are a plethora of issues concerning patient privacy, confidentiality, and HIPAA. Unfortunately, these are issues that have arisen more recently; patient privacy and confidentiality wasn’t a largely disputed issue before the introduction and increase of health information technology implementation and usage. According to the Center for Democracy and Technology, “Health information technology has tremendous potential to improve health care quality and reduce costs while empowering patients to play a greater role in the management of their own care. At the same time, however, electronic storage and exchange of personal health information poses risks to privacy. Unaddressed, privacy ...view middle of the document...

This proceeds to pose a threat to society in the form of the endangerment of public health. The NCBI (National Center for Biotechnology Information) doesn’t provide the reader with specific facts or arguments that propose a solution; it is merely stated that “associated privacy and security issues need to be analyzed to make these systems socially acceptable.” This statement seems to suggest a sort of arrangement: though the NCBI seems to agree that these systems are effective, economic, and efficient, they’re also taking the humane and ethical positions into account by making sure to state that these systems need to be analyzed and revised in order to ensure that they are not only effective, but patient-friendly as well. It is stated in the American Medical Association’s Code of Ethics “that the information disclosed to a physician during the course of the patient-physician relationship is confidential to the utmost degree. As explained by the AMA's Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs, the purpose of a physician's ethical duty to maintain patient confidentiality is to allow the patient to feel free to make a full and frank disclosure of information to the physician with the knowledge that the physician will protect the confidential nature of the information disclosed. Full disclosure enables the physician to diagnose conditions properly and to treat the patient appropriately. In return for the patient's honesty, the physician generally should not reveal confidential communications or information without the patient's express consent unless required to disclose the information by law. There are exceptions to the rule, such as where a patient threatens bodily harm to himself or herself or to another person.” The ethical issues aren’t bound by law, but may serve as the basis for the system of legal obligation rulings. Health information technology has made it increasingly easier for a patient’s medical records to be accessed. Physicians within a certain network are able to access the information and records of any patient within that network. The issues physicians face are both ethical and legal; they must make use of health IT while at the same time respecting the privacy and confidentiality of the patients. It is ethically incorrect to access a patient’s records for any reason other than diagnosis, treatment, and/or when legally obligated to; this has legal implications as well. The AMA makes it clear: “[M]aintaining patient confidentiality is a legal duty as well as an ethical duty. A physician's legal obligations are defined by the US Constitution, by federal and state laws and regulations, and by the courts. Even without applying ethical standards, courts generally allow a cause of action for a breach of confidentiality against a treating physician who divulges confidential medical information...

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