Safeguarding the Privacy of Electronic Medical Records

Safeguarding the Privacy of Electronic Medical Records

Jingquan Li (Texas A&M University-San Antonio, USA) and Michael J. Shaw (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA)
Copyright: © 2012 |Pages: 11
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61350-323-2.ch412
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Abstract

The continued growth of healthcare information systems (HCIS) promises to improve quality of care, reduce harmful medical errors, and streamline the entire healthcare system. But the resulting dependence on electronic medical records (EMRs) has kindled patient concern about who has access to sensitive medical records. Healthcare organizations are obliged to protect patient medical records under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996 and the economic stimulus bill of 2009. The purpose of this study is to develop a formal privacy policy for safeguarding the privacy of EMRs. This study describes the impact of EMRs and HIPAA on patient privacy. It proposes access control and audit logs policies to protect patient privacy. To illustrate the best practices in the healthcare industry, this chapter presents the case of the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center. The case demonstrates that it is critical for a healthcare organization to have a formal privacy policy in place.

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