Ethics of Electronic Health Record Systems

Ethics of Electronic Health Record Systems

Brian J. Galli (Long Island University – Post, Brookville, USA)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 17
DOI: 10.4018/IJISSC.2018070104

Abstract

This article describes how healthcare and IT are combatting the ethical implications of electronic health records (EHRs) in order to make them adopted by over 90% of small practices. There is a lack of trust in EHRs and uneasiness about what they will accomplish. Furthermore, security concerns have become more prevalent as a result of increased hacker activity. The objective of this article is to analyze these ethical issues in an effort to eliminate them as a hinderance to EHR implementation. As of now, 98% of all hospitals use EHRs. Between 2009 and 2015, the government allocated money and resources for incentive programs to get EHRs into every healthcare providers' office. During this time period, over $800 million dollars facilitated EHR implementation. Using this as a tool EHRs negative perception can be revitalized and combated with the meaningful use program. This article will highlight the ethical implications of EHRs and suggest ways in which to avoid them to make EHRs available in every healthcare provider.
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Background

The healthcare industry must address all ethical implications in technology since it deals with highly sensitive information. As a result, a culture of ethical practices and standardized processes is nurtured. Electronic Health Record (EHR) systems are one technology that complies with ethical standards because of the way in which it handles patient information (Waegemann, 2003). Waegemann (2003) explains the purpose of EHR systems:

The concept of an EHR--electronic storage and instant availability of information to authorized practitioners--is often combined with the advantages of an electronic healthcare system, including enhanced access to medical information and greater efficiency. EHR promoters even claim that full access to health information might bring cures for certain diseases, such as AIDS. Healthcare is getting more complex every day. Today, multiple specialists are involved in most patients' healthcare, and paper records cannot keep practitioners completely informed. (p. 1)

EHRs play a pivotal role in keeping practitioners informed and connected. Its data can be collated and analyzed on a grander scale, thus enabling researchers to view and create trends about various health issues. It wasn’t until recently that EHRs became more widespread and accepted. According to Tripathi (2012), EHRs have undergone vast transformation in the past 50 years. Predecessors to EHRs existed in the 1960s and early ‘70s. In the 1990s, the modern EHR came into fruition and practice. EHRs were slowly implemented because a lack of standardization in the market and little motivation from providers (Waegemann, 2003).

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