How Healthcare Is Using Web Development To Protect Patient’s Privacy
DETROIT: New technologies have changed the way we communicate, shop, find entertainment, and share information. One industry that has fully embraced the great capabilities of technology in data storage, access, and protection is healthcare.
With so much information and privacy issues that continue to put pressure on how this data is stored and used, many challenges have arisen. How web development has been able to protect patients’ privacy in healthcare is the focus of this article. We will look at how to use this sensitive data, how to maintain the guidelines of the Health Insurance Liability and Portability Act (HIPAA), and how this data is accessible to patients, regardless of their knowledge of new technology.
The importance of privacy of health information in health care
There is an important factor that drives the need privacy of health information in healthcare. It can be said in one word: trust. Patient confidentiality is a necessary element in healthcare as it builds trust between patients and physicians. Patients are much more open about their medical history when they trust who they share this information with. With a patient-physician relationship based on trust, the interactions between the two parties are better and this makes health visits of higher quality, leading to better health outcomes.
The different types of privacy in healthcare
- There are many types of patient privacy in the healthcare industry. They include the following:
- Physical privacy: respect for personal space
- Information privacy: protection of personal data
- Decision Privacy: Allows personal choices that may include religious or cultural affiliations
- Privacy of the association: accept personal relationships that include family members or other partners
- This article, in particular, will focus on the element of information privacy.
- The evolution of health information systems
If you’ve been seeing medical professionals for a long time, you may remember that your doctor used to keep paper records. These records will document your visit, the topic covered, the concerns expressed, the solutions or resources offered, and any follow-up information when available.
There was a time when paper records were fine. They would be part of a large collection of document files that could be retrieved when needed. These paper files were important for clinical, research, administrative, and financial purposes. Paper records were updated manually, which could lead to long delays and were only available to one user at a time for reference. In addition, these records were not normally available to patients.
The most important issue that arose from paper medical records, apart from the need for storage that occupied walls of space to store files, was security. Or, to be more precise, the lack of security. Of course, the authorized personnel could consult the files, but first they had to access them through a variety of means which could have included one or more of the following forms of protection: locks, doors, cards or passages. identification and a detailed exit procedure. All of this was effective at the time. However, unauthorized access did not trigger alarms or other security measures and there was no way to know exactly what information was being viewed.
Electronic health records (EHR) are a completely different matter. To begin with, even though the physical records belong to the physician, consultation, or organization that created them, the patient owns the information contained in the record. Because the record is considered a commercial document, it is said to be the commercial property of the file creator.
Access to EHR can come from multiple users through various information technology tools that allow patients to view their records at any time. There are patient portals that make this possible but will only allow viewing of patients. Medical professionals have additional access that gives them the ability to edit, edit, and add these files.
The office of the National Coordinator of Health Information Technologies identifies electronic health records as “not just a collection of data you’re keeping, it’s a lifetime.” This accurately describes an EHR based on the detailed medical and personal information it contains about a person. This is also why three major ethical priorities are part of these records. There is:
- Privacy and confidentiality
- Data integrity and availability
How to keep these files private and confidential
Let’s look at privacy first. This is defined as “the right of people to prevent information about themselves from being disclosed to others and is the claim of people who are left alone in peace, from the surveillance or interference of other individuals, organizations or the government.” “. This is by allowing patient information to be shared with others by only two methods:
- With the permission of the patient
- Or as the law says
Medical professionals can access patient information because they own the files where the information is stored. This means that patient information can be used for payment, processing, or administrative purposes without the patient’s authorization requirement. It also means that the patient has the right to access their personal medical history. But, as noted above, with the trust that exists between the physician and the patient, access to medical records between the two parties makes a lot of sense in fostering this relationship of trust.
With regard to confidentiality, restrictions should be placed on restricting access to information only to authorized persons. Authorization is the most effective way to limit who can see what. With web development and new technologies, access levels are possible that set different restrictions depending on individual needs in terms of personal medical history. For example, a doctor would require full access and the ability to edit documentation. Patients would require full access, but have restrictions on what they can do with their records regarding editing. The administrative staff of the clinic or hospital would need less access but enough to perform their duties, and so on.
In addition, access to electronic medical records would include the requirement for specific tools to view those records. These tools would be the standard username and password system that everyone is familiar with to access certain online programs. This facilitates access for patients and all others who are authorized to have access to the information. However, as an additional layer of security, certain access levels would require a higher level of authenticity to allow access to files. This two-tier approach is becoming commonplace online, but access to the medical record would include biometric scans of identifiable features that would be unique to the person requesting access.
Audit guidelines help HIPAA compliance
Organizations follow the instructions of the HIPAA security rule to conduct audit trails. An audit trail is a record of all system activity. This would include the date and time stamps associated with each entry made, a detailed list of files and pages that remain open, the length of time spent during viewing, who did the viewing, and information about changes made to medical records. . Other details that can be tracked and collected as part of an audit trail range from the printing of which pages, the number of screenshots, and the precise geographic location of the computer used to access the files.
Maintaining the integrity of records is also vital
The last piece of the puzzle of connecting web development with electronic health records is integrity. Integrity essentially ensures that the data collected is correct and has not been altered. With data exchange becoming a common activity within the electronic environment, it is important to maintain the integrity of this information as it moves through the systems. Practices that threaten the integrity of the data include the integrity of the documentation when a small detail is recorded incorrectly, copying and pasting data that increases the risk of data loss and the limitations that arise through the use of menus. drop-downs. The drop-down menus offer only so many options, and in some cases the options available are not relevant to affect the accuracy of the information recording.
New technologies have made it much easier for us to perform many tasks that were tedious or much more labor intensive. The healthcare industry soon adopted new technologies, which quickly became a game changer. Web development created innovative ways to access and collect patient data that made paper-based manual documentation obsolete. However, as much as digital data has become the format of electronic medical records, it has also presented many new challenges. These include privacy, confidentiality, security and data integrity.
Fortunately, there are established standards, derived from the Health Insurance Portability and Liability Act of 1996. HIPAA explains how to use medical data, data storage, who can access it, and how to access it. The system has a number of checks and balances to ensure that targets are met and that sensitive assets remain protected but only accessible to those who need access. It all comes down to trust. The quality of the data depends on the level of trust between a patient and a medical professional. Without a relationship of trust, the data collected will be of no quality, which may affect the level of attention.
Marina Turea works as a content manager for Digital Authority Partners, a San Diego-based web development agency.