Patient Privacy and Security in E-Health

Patient Privacy and Security in E-Health

Güney Gürsel (Gülhane Military Medical Academy (GATA), Turkey)
Copyright: © 2017 |Pages: 14
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0920-2.ch033
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In the digital era, undoubtedly, e-health is a major contributor for decision support, education, research and management activities in healthcare. It provides tremendous benefits by easy store and access to data. This easiness brings a big problem together with the benefits. Users have easy access to vast amount of sensitive health data about patients. This may give way to misuse and abuse. That is why the concepts of privacy and security becomes very popular and point of major concern. This chapter is a descriptive study aimed to give principles of these concepts and invoke awareness about.
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Health data is the most private data of a person. It is so sensitive that it can make a person ashamed and upset. There may be some details even the person himself wants to forget. Because of these assets of patient health data, the notion of Patient Privacy and Security has arisen.

Although privacy and security are two different things, they are used together as a repetition for patient data. In healthcare, these two terms are used together as a concept, in which one refers to what is going to be protected, privacy, and the other refers to how it will be protected, security. In this section, to avoid misusage and confusion, brief descriptions about what is intended with patient privacy and security, will be examined. Exact description of health information is going to be given to clarify what to protect.

Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA, 1996) defines health information as “whether oral or recorded in any form or medium, that

  • Is created or received by a health care provider, health plan, public health authority, employer, life insurer, school or university, or health care clearinghouse; and

  • Relates to the past, present, or future physical or mental health or condition of any individual, the provision of health care to an individual, or the past, present, or future payment for the provision of health care to an individual.”

HIPAA (1996) defines individually identifiable health information as “a subset of health information, including demographic information collected from an individual, and:

Key Terms in this Chapter

E-Health: E-health is the use of information and communication technologies to improve health care.

HITECH: The HITECH Act is an incentive program that urges healthcare organizations to use a certified Healthcare Information System for everyday practice and use.

Data Breach: An incident in which sensitive, protected or confidential data has been viewed, stolen or used by an unauthorized body.

Protected Health Information (PHI): PHI is the individually identifiable health information of a patient.

HIMSS: HIMSS is a global, cause-based, non-profit organization, focused on better health through information technology.

HIPAA: HIPAA is the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996.

Privacy: The state of being free from being observed or disturbed by other people.

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