Privacy and Security
The HIPAA privacy and security rules provide federal protection for individually identifiable health information. Consider a physician practice that is transitioning from being paper based to electronic medical records. The receptionist area contains both hanging folders and the desktop computer on which the practice management system runs. During the transition, a patient’s health information (valued asset) will exist in two states: on paper in a hanging folder and in an electronic record on a computer.
- Identify and evaluate the risks for each state in terms of:
- Probability of a breach (low, medium, or high).
- In your answer include a discussion of authentication, integrity, and accountability.
Guided response: Your initial post should be a minimum of 200-250 words.
- Utilize a minimum of two scholarly sources, excluding the textbook.
- Sources should be cited in APA format, as outlined in the Writing Center.
- You must respond to at least two of your classmate’s posts by Day 7.
- Your three required posts must be on three different days of the week.
- After reading other initial posts, what are some other actions that would resolve privacy and security issues during the transition from paper to electronic health records.
Expert Solution Preview
The transition from paper-based medical records to electronic medical records has become increasingly common in the healthcare industry. This change provides numerous benefits, including improved patient care, increased efficiency, and easier access to patient information. However, there are also potential privacy and security risks associated with electronic medical records. This assignment focuses on identifying and evaluating the risks associated with both paper-based and electronic medical records, including threats, vulnerabilities, and the probability of a breach.
In a physician practice transitioning from paper-based medical records to electronic medical records, the patient’s health information will exist in two states: on paper and in electronic form. For paper-based medical records, the primary risk is theft or loss of patient information, which could result in unauthorized access to sensitive data. Additionally, a paper-based system is vulnerable to physical damage, such as fires or floods, which could result in the loss of the patient’s health information.
When transitioning to electronic medical records, the primary risk is unauthorized access to patient information. This risk arises from threats such as hacking, malware, and social engineering. Electronic medical records require safeguards to protect against these threats, including authentication, integrity, and accountability. Authentication ensures that only authorized individuals can access patient information, while integrity ensures that the data remains accurate and complete. Accountability ensures that all actions taken in the system are traceable to a particular user, preventing unauthorized access or modifications.
The probability of a breach is dependent on several factors, including the strength of the security measures in place, the technical proficiency of authorized users, and the number and nature of potential threats. In general, it is likely that the probability of a breach will be higher for electronic medical records, given the potential for global access via the internet.
To resolve privacy and security issues during the transition from paper-based medical records to electronic medical records, several actions should be taken. First, all personnel should receive training on how to properly handle patient information, including the use of secure passwords, the importance of logging off when finished with a session, and the need to protect data from physical damage. Second, firewalls and antivirus software should be installed on all devices that will access patient records. Finally, regular audits and reviews should be conducted to ensure that all records are accurate and complete, and that no unauthorized modifications have been made.
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