Attempting to overcome the data management problem with the help of using information technologies, the healthcare providers should pay attention to the ethical and legal implications of this process. The successes in the usage of the electronic health records and in implementation of health information exchanges and national data repositories can be challenged by such problems as the breach of confidentiality and privacy and the inappropriate distribution of the healthcare organizations’ documents.
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The data management in the healthcare industry is based on collecting, recording, and analyzing the information effectively, but the main ethical and legal issues are associated with such aspects as the responsibility for the data storage, correct use, and provision of only authorized access to the materials. Thus, the main ethical and legal implications of the data management problem are the issues of privacy, confidentiality, appropriate usage, and distribution of the materials.
The problem is in the fact that the personal data in relation to the patient’s state or definite procedures can be used not only by the physician but also by the persons who are directly involved in treating the patient and indirectly support the process. That is why, the risk of breaking the ethical and legal norms in relation to the patient’s privacy and confidentiality is always high (Ries, 2010).
In spite of the fact physicians and all the employees in the healthcare industry are responsible for following the legal and ethical norms, modern programs used for overcoming the data management problem should be also effective to decrease the risks of breaking the ethical and legal principles. For instance, electronic health records contain the medical history of the patient which can be shared by different healthcare providers to complete the definite goals (Khosrow-Pour, 2006).
To avoid the ethical and legal conflicts based on the choice of the effective usage of the necessary information to care the patient and the issues of confidentiality and privacy, it is necessary to provide the control of the authorized access to the information and its distribution. It is impossible to give passwords and other significant information on the access to the system to persons who are not responsible for the data management or treatment.
From this point, the main ethical and legal implications of the data management are connected with collecting and using the data appropriately, basing on the principles of confidentiality and privacy.
Nevertheless, it is also possible to determine such associated issues as the problem of the computer literacy while working with the electronically recorded information, the problem of the guaranteed data security, and the question of distributing the information between the healthcare providers and practitioners without breaking the confidentiality law (Ries, 2010).
To avoid all the negative ethical and legal implications of managing the data within the healthcare industry with the help of electronic health records and with references to the health information exchanges and national data repositories, it is necessary to guarantee only the authorized access to the data and the legitimate use of the information by the medical practitioners and other responsible representatives of the healthcare organizations.
The necessary restrictions and limitations should be implemented. It is important to provide the conditions for the effective data management and for following the rights which guarantee the confidentiality of personal data and the patients’ privacy.
Khosrow-Pour, M. (2006). Emerging trends and challenges in information technology management. USA: Idea Group Pub.
Ries, D. G. (2010). Safeguarding confidential data: Your ethical and legal obligations. Retrieved from https://www.americanbar.org/groups/law_practice/publications/law_practice_magazine/