Administrative Ethics Paper

1445 words - 6 pages

Administrative Ethics Paper
Balancing the access to health data and privacy has caused a dramatic increase in the types of microdata, and this directs great expectations for health services research. Legislative attempts to protect individual privacy reduces the flow of health care data for research purposes and increases costs and delays, and this affects the quality of analysis. The journal provides a summary of the challenges that data confidentiality raises concerning health services research, the current methods used to ensure data security, and a description of one successful concept to balancing access and privacy. The analysis of these issues of access and privacy using a conceptual ...view middle of the document...

The main challenge is balancing the risk of re-identification with the utility associated with data analysis. The risk from re-identifying individuals can be measured by the likelihood that a record can be matched to a master file (Winkler 2005). The risk is high if the data include direct identifiers, such as names, social security numbers, or organization id numbers. Re-identification is harmful both financially and psychosocial. Communicating with microdata produces utility by multiplying the value of the basic principle of work that can be undertaken, the likelihood of improvements in data quality, and the opportunity for replication of research (Duncan et al. 2001). Unfortunately, greater access simultaneously increases the risk of re-identification. Data producers use disclosure limitation methods to protect individuals from being identified. As data capture and computing capabilities have become more highly developed, the types of data used in health services research and the ability to link data from multiple sources has expanded, with different associated levels of risk and utility.
The utility of survey data collected from individuals lies in its detail on sociodemographic traits as well as perceptions, preferences, health behaviors, and health risks. The risk associated with survey data lies in the information of detail on geography and personal characteristics that may be sufficient to re-identify respondents. Survey data is collected on a population basis, risk of re-identification is sort of limited. Administrative data are compiled primarily to provide a program or a benefit, and they include both private and public payer claims records as well as hospital discharge data. The utility of administrative data lies within the numbers of observations, allowing the study of small groups with analytical exactness, and the greater reliability of certain fields, for example, diagnostic codes from providers or charges used for billing purposes (Berk et al. 1990; Machlin et al. 2009). Medicare or Medicaid claims are only available for persons covered by either those programs, hospital discharge data are available regardless of payer status. Elements such as race/ethnicity might be missing, since the data are collected for programmatic, rather than analytical purposes. The reason for disclosure risk with administrative data differs from survey data; because the data are universal, a record that links uniquely is re-identified with certainty. When the program agency keeps the administrative file, there is the possibility of re-identifying the individual for non-analytic purposes.
Data from medical records or disease registries include clinical measures such as blood levels, laboratory test results, or indicators of cancer stage. Utility derives from more robust assessment of quality of care and health outcomes. Where electronic medical records are available, clinical data are easier to access though riskier from the privacy perspective....

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