Cloud Technology in Healthcare – Essay Furious


NR-360 Unit 3 We Can, But Dare We (RUA): Cloud Technology in Healthcare

We Can but Dare We?

The current evolving technology especially in social platforms has made the internet pervasive in society. Nearly everyone across the world currently owns a smartphone or a tablet for communication among other purposes. Healthcare providers, just like any other person, have adopted this trend, and tend to even pose such gadgets in the healthcare setting. In as much as social media helps in making the world seem like a small market, it can also harm society if not used appropriately. For instance, cybersecurity has been a great challenge in the evolving healthcare system trying to keep up with the dynamic technology, such as electronic health records. Consequently, healthcare personnel have a set of legal and ethical obligations required when taking care of patients. Such obligations include observing and respecting the patients’ right to privacy and confidentiality, which can be undermined by sharing patients’ information over social media (Garner, 2018). As such, this paper evaluates a case study of a nurse who undermined a patient’s privacy over social media, and the legal obligations outlined in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) in addition to the advantages and disadvantages of using social media.

HIPAA, Legal, and Regulatory Discussion

            Various professional bodies have established legal and ethical principles to guide the use of technology such as social media among other internet platforms while still in a healthcare setting or generally at work. According to the HIPAA, the relationship between a healthcare worker and the patient is based on the privacy and confidentiality of the information shared. Patients tend to be free and open with healthcare workers knowing that the information shared will never reach a third party without their consent. HIPAA outlines all the legal and ethical requirements to be observed by healthcare personnel when using social media (Health Law Institute & Minnesota Continuing Legal Education, 2019). The act has also emphasized on organizations to establish measures aimed at safeguarding the privacy of their patients’ data. Healthcare organizations are thus required to adopt an encrypted electronically protected healthcare information (ePHI) to avoid access by unauthorized personnel.

Consequently, strict penalties have been put in place for those who breach or violet the rules established in the HIPAA. Healthcare workers face a fine of between $100 and $1,500,000 upon being found guilty of breaching the HIPAA rules depending on the severity of the violation. Some are even jailed for up to 10 years (Weaver, Ball, Kim, & Kiel, 2016). Such violations include sharing pictures and videos of patients in the workplace, sharing any form of PHI without the patient’s consent, and posting “gossips” regarding a patient even without mentioning the patients’ names among others. Other than the legal deprecations, hospitals, among other healthcare businesses, can face adverse challenges as a result of breaching patients’ privacy. For instance, patients might develop a phobia towards that specific healthcare facility, not being able to trust the credibility of their employees. This will be bad for business, making it another reason for organizations to reinforce the implementation of legal and ethical requirements set to safeguard the patient’s privacy.

Scenario Ending and Recommendations

            The selected case scenario displays how social media made a nurse share patient’s information out of impulse. The nurse was quite aware of the implications but still went ahead to take the patient’s photo. She even went further to share the photo with a friend, which is prohibited by the HIPAA regulations. When taking care of patients, nurses, just like any other healthcare worker, are required to observe all the legal and ethical obligations as outlined in the code of practice. Among these, patient’s privacy and confidentiality come amongst the most crucial aspects (Garner, 2018). The HIPAA clearly outlines the use of social media and other internet platforms for healthcare personnel, especially when at work. Amongst them, taking pictures while still in the healthcare setting is greatly prohibited. The nurse in the case study started violating the HIPAA regulations by taking the patient’s picture. Sending it to her friend only worsened the situation. Therefore, she is liable to the set penalties for her actions.

Violating the HIPAA regulations by the nurse exposes the healthcare setting at hand, and this possesses potential harm to its reputation and inflicts tremendous financial penalties if the patients decide to take legal action. As such, the specific hospital must educate all its healthcare employees on the importance of observing the HIPAA regulations on the use of social media and protecting patient’s privacy to avoid such reparations (Weaver, Ball, Kim, & Kiel, 2016). Strict measures should also be put at the organization level to deal with employees who undermine patients’ right to privacy.

Advantages and Disadvantages

            Despite the strict measures put towards the use of social media among other internet platforms for healthcare workers, technology has done a tremendous job in promoting the efficiency and quality of care provided. For instance, social media has enhanced teamwork towards evidence best practice in care provision, as clinicians from different disciplines can share ideas in the shortest time possible (Fearing et al., 2017). Consequently, social media through live platforms has enhanced distant learning keeping healthcare workers equipped with updated information regarding current practice. Lastly, healthcare personnel, through social media, have been able to borrow practices from different care settings by sharing their experience on patient outcomes.

However, social media has undermined the competence of healthcare professionals in several ways. A patient privacy breach is at the top of this list, with most clinicians misusing social media by sharing patient’s information without their consent, even when they know that it is against the HIPAA regulations (Weaver, Ball, Kim, & Kiel, 2016). Consequently, some clinicians tend to rely on social media to make some clinical decisions, which require one on one evaluation of the patient.

Conclusion and Reflections

Handling patients in the current healthcare system that is full of technology is quite challenging. Healthcare personnel are however required to take keen consideration regarding the ethical and legal aspects of a patient, such as observing their privacy and confidentiality at all times. The use of social media, and sharing patient data through such a platform to unauthorized personnel, is prohibited at all levels. Just like in the case scenario provided, the nurse overshadowed the patients’ right to privacy and is thus liable to face the necessary legal penalties. Despite the desire to fit into the normal lifestyle of their peers, nurses among other healthcare personnel, are required to exhibit high-level professionalism, and observe all the required regulations when taking care of a patient, even when not being observed. To avoid such an occurrence in the future, all healthcare personnel are required to undertake frequent training on the ethical use of social media among other social platforms when in a healthcare environment (Garner, 2018). Healthcare organizations must also outline strict measures on how to handle those who breach any hospital rules and remind their employee frequently, for better adherence outcomes.

 

 

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Fehring, K. A., De, M. I., McLawhorn, A. S., Sculco, P. K., & SpringerLink (Online service). (2017). Social media: physicians-to-physicians education and communication. (Current reviews in musculoskeletal medicine.) https://doi.org/10.1007/s12178-017-9411-x

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Garner, W. (2018). FERPA, HIPAA, and Other Privacy Concerns in Online Education. In T. Bastiaens, J. Van Braak, M. Brown, L. Cantoni, M. Castro, R. Christensen, G. Davidson-Shivers, K. DePryck, M. Ebner, M. Fominykh, C. Fulford, S. Hatzipanagos, G. Knezek, K. Kreijns, G. Marks, E. Sointu, E. Korsgaard Sorensen, J. Viteli, J. Voogt, P. Weber, E. Weippl & O. Zawacki-Richter (Eds.), Proceedings of EdMedia: World Conference on Educational Media and Technology (pp. 519-523). Amsterdam, Netherlands: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE). Retrieved November 13, 2020 from https://www.learntechlib.org/primary/p/184239/.

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Health Law Institute, & Minnesota Continuing Legal Education, (2019). The 2019 Health Law Institute. Saint Paul, MN: Minnesota Continuing Legal Education.  https://www.minncle.org/seminar/1027551901

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Weaver, C. A., Ball, M. J., Kim, G. R., & Kiel, J. M. (2016). Healthcare information management systems: Cases, strategies, and solutions. Cham: Springer. https://www.springer.com/gp/book/9783319207643

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NR-360 Unit 3 We Can, But Dare We (RUA) Cloud Technology in Healthcare

NR-360 Unit 3 We Can, But Dare We (RUA) Cloud Technology in Healthcare

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