The following is an analysis of the “Standards for Privacy of Individually Identifiable Health Information” as prepared by the United States Department of Health and Human Services. The USDHHS created a set of national standards for the protection of specific health information. The intended audience is the ordinary people who will avail of health services within the United States of America. This document was created to establish protocols on how to handle health information. It is important to strike a balance between the need for confidentiality, and the effective flow of communication to intended recipients.
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It is easy to understand the purpose of the document, because the USDHHS provided enough information to explain the importance of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996. Thus, this document serves to explain the standards created in response to the said law.
The coherent flow of information was assured, when the USDHHS effectively utilized “division and classification”, to break down a complex body of information into manageable pieces. Thus, readers are not overwhelmed by the presentation of huge chunks of data. The USDHHS made sure that the reader is aware of the background of the message.
The “division and classification” of information did not only create a coherent flow, it also enables the user to understand how different topics are interrelated. For example, the USDHHS immediately highlighted the importance of the document. This strategy encourages the user to know more about the issue. It was a deliberate attempt by the author to call the attention of the intended recipient. In other words, the USDHHS made it known, that the document was not written for those who are not affected by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996.
By utilizing the “division and classification” strategy, the USDHHS created effective signposts that guide users on how to navigate a complex web of information compressed in a single document. If the user wants to read the section that talks about privacy rules regarding minors, there is no need to read the whole document all over again. Therefore, it is easier to absorb the information because of the way it was organized.
Effective writing was made evident through the appropriate use of exemplification and description. For example, the document highlights the type of protected information. The USDHHS provided a list of information covered by the said law. It was a specific set of information, such as the inclusion of pertinent health information concerning the individual’s past, present, and future.
Another commendable feature of the document is the appropriate definition of terms used. There is no need to consult a dictionary to understand some of the complicated terms used, because the USDHHS made sure the definition of technical terms is within the said document.
The author was mindful of the 4 characteristics of effective writing. For example, the document was written in a coherent manner, and it was easy to read. The author used precise language. It was also evident that the author used a well-defined voice, and had a clear sense of audience. The author also utilized well-structured and varied sentences.
The author also utilized the principles embedded in rhetorical choices by using definition, exemplification, classification, and division.
With regards to the Measures of Excellence in Writing, the author provided a comprehensive material so that the user can utilize the information effectively. At the same, time the document was an example of excellent writing because of the clarity of the information given.
Finally, the author was able to demonstrate skills that characterized Professional Writing for Social Science Professionals. These skills were made evident when the author created a document that focuses on a particular group of users. At the same time, the author used precise language to compel the readers to respond to the message. Therefore, the author was able to address the issue regarding privacy standards.
It must be pointed out that the document contains certain flaws that need to be rectified in order to accomplish the purpose of its creation. It must be made clear that the purpose of the document is information dissemination. In other words, it is important to inform American citizens about their right to privacy. However, there are numerous problems that impede the flow of information for those who are unable to correctly interpret the essence of the privacy protocols that were created by the USDHHS.
One of the glaring examples of the failure to reach out to the intended audience was the lack of detailed information with regards to appropriate examples. For example, the USDHHS provided a general overview of the types of information covered by the said law. However, detailed examples were not present in the said document. For users who are not highly educated, it is almost impossible to determine the meaning of “past, present, and future” health information.
The best way to rectify this error is to provide a link, or develop another set of documents that will provide more information about the said topic. The link will lead users to a specific website that has more graphical information, because the current document lacks visual aids. Uneducated users may find it difficult to read, and absorb technical terms.
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It can be argued that aside from the lack of pertinent information, the document was created not for the consumption of the general public, but for the benefit of lawyers, and highly educated people. An overview of the document will reveal that one of the primary purposes of the document is not just to provide information about privacy protocols, but also to give information that will be useful in legal disputes. As a result of this objective, the document is filled with legal terminologies. There is nothing wrong with using technical terms and legal language. However, the USDHHS must keep in mind that it provides a service, not only to corporate leaders, and hospital managers, but also to ordinary people.
It is important to point out that American citizens are not only those who went to college. The U.S. government is not only for the rich, and the educated members of society. The U.S. Government is also for those who struggle to read and write.
The document is well organized. Thus, it is able to provide a coherent flow of information. However, the mere fact that is a public document means that it is for the consumption of ordinary American citizens. The document is sufficient in form and substance; however, effective communication is hindered in the absence of appropriate language for minorities and other disadvantaged groups. The USDHHS must develop another version of the standard privacy protocols, and it must be written for the sake of the marginalized members of society.