The Importance of HIPAA in Protecting Patients' Health Information

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Some nurses are unaware that the typical communication practices they make may violate patient privacy. Unnecessary sharing of patients’ data violates the HIPAA that was established in 1996.  HIPAA stipulates that nurses should be accountable for patients’ privacy and confidentiality.

Some of the frequent communications that nurses may incorrectly share regarding their clients’ data include unveiling data of the sick to other healthcare staff. When the sick realize that their condition has been shared with others, they often develop low self-esteem. Moreover, nurses go against HIPAA’s regulations when they mishandle medical records of their clients (Merkow and Breithaupt 56). Mismanagement of the records results when the health practitioners disclose charts or printed records of the sick.

Similarly, nurses involved in gross misconduct when they lose or steal clients’ devices.  Protected Health Information (PHI) may be misplaced when it is stored on laptops, smartphones or other electronic appliances (Curtis et al. 2270). Furthermore, pinning of patients’ information on media channels is against HIPAA’s rules, and it demoralizes the sick.

From my experience, the healthcare and information security communication is doing a satisfactory job to protect patients’ health information. For example, the Steward Health Care System found in Boston, the USA has specialized departments where patients are treated according to their diseases (Merkow and Breithaupt 56). There are private rooms in which the sick are tested and treated. Above all, health practitioners in this hospital do not disclose the clients’ data, unless it has been mistakenly handled (O'hagan et al. 1347). Therefore, it becomes evident that health centers are protecting patients' information.

Summarily, the safety of patient’s health must be a priority of all health sectors in the world. Medics should have a yearly in-service to be updated with the skills of their profession. Equally, HIPAA should make follow-ups to check how nurses are conducting their duties.

Work Cited

Curtis, J. Randall, et al. "Effect of communication skills training for residents and nurse practitioners on quality of communication with patients with serious illness: a randomized trial." Jama, vol. 310, no. 21, 2013, pp. 2271-2281.

Merkow, Mark S., and Jim Breithaupt. Information security: Principles and practices. Pearson Education, 2014.

O'hagan, Sally, et al. "What counts as effective communication in nursing? Evidence from nurse educators' and clinicians' feedback on nurse interactions with simulated patients." Journal of advanced nursing, vol. 70, no. 6, 2014, pp. 1344-1355.

September 04, 2023
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