Protection Of Health Information

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Protection of Health Information

Protection of Health Information

Over the past several years, I have had both professional and personal in-depth relationships with the healthcare industry. I have served and am now serving as a consultant to several medical service and product suppliers. Earlier this year, courtesy of a rather serious ailment complicated by some related side events, I had intensive personal experiences with doctors, hospitals, medical insurers, pharmacy plans, and related other entities. (Persuad, Dawe, 2002) Lest you think this column is an act of revenge, all of these personal events, while undesirable, had salutary results and enhanced my respect for medical practitioners. On the other hand, I had additional first hand views of medical information processes and was not equally impressed.

The Anatomy Of The Healthcare Industry

Health care has been getting more than its share of prophetic pronouncements lately. Even with the currently stalled legislative initiatives, forecasts of radical shifts in the fundamental structure and nature of the US medical service system still abound. All medical professionals and healthcare administrators and suppliers know that dramatic change is in the wind. (Persuad, Dawe, 2002) However, no matter what aspects of health care the organization provides and no matter how dramatically the medical service landscape may change, one important fact remains the same. The healthcare industry relies on an increasing volume of continuous, complete, timely, accurate, appropriate, trustworthy, and often confidential information to provide the highest level of professional service, to produce top quality products, and to maintain financial viability.

Why Is The Subject Of Health Care More Critical Today?

Several factors can explain why health care has become a critical issue in today's society. Although health care has always been information-driven, the remainder of this decade will see a record increase in the use of information technology for patient care, research, teaching, product and process development, finance, and administration. (Persuad, Dawe, 2002)

Computers And Telecommunications Solutions

Computers and telecommunications offer some of the best solutions for dealing with the rapid and comprehensive management and fiscal changes projected by the new healthcare legislative initiatives. (Persuad, Dawe, 2002) The medical management network environment is growing dramatically ranging from Community Health Information Networks (CHINs) and managed care complexes to small groups of practitioners that manage multiple office sites. As anyone who has recently gone through a comprehensive medical regime knows, medical insurers are, in many ways, the prime facilitators or obstacles on how much and what type of care a patient gets and how it will be paid. I know of individuals who have refused to seek medical aid not because of the lack of insurance, but because of the real or perceived hassle involved in the medical payment process. Medicare and Medicaid processes are the bane of the physician's administrative staff and second only to malpractice insurance in overhead burden. (Persuad, Dawe, 2002)

Information Technology Is Widely Affordable

As information technology continues to be more widely affordable, easier to use, and more generally acceptable, a much higher percentage of ...
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