There is a significant need to protect patient’s health records and data in the health care and medicine domain. Ensuring the security of health evidence in health research is necessary since providing patients with quality medical services implies the collection and use of substantial amounts of client’s personal health information, which may be sensitive. This is why health care is developing emerging trends and information technology tools that are used in medicine in order to protect patient’s health records. Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and encryption may serve as an example of such security measures and will be further described.
The need to develop emerging trends in policies that ensure patient health data protection is explained by the sharp rise of information technology use in the medicine domain. Webber et al. (2019) state that “communication of health data has evolved rapidly with the widespread adoption of communication technology” (p. 79). In some cases, the patient needs to transfer personal health data to the doctor without unauthorized persons’ participation. One of the measures applied in such cases is encryption. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2021), encryption implies an original message of regular text transformation into encoded text, which is encrypted employing a certain algorithm (para. 1). Encryption of patient’s health evidence ensures that no one but the receiving party who has access to the conveyed pieces of information would be able to receive and decrypt the text.
Encryption solution depends on the amount of data required to be protected. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2021) claims that it may be implemented in parts, such as to a specific file containing sensitive information, or in broad terms, such as encrypting all stored data. Therefore, encryption may be one of the basic measures applied to protect potentially sensitive health data that is stored on the patient’s device and implies its communication.
Nowadays, patients aim to have control over their health information and avoid exposure to private data that they do not wish to disclose. Seol et al. (2018) argue that “many approaches have been proposed to provide access control to patient documents when providing health services” (p. 9114). One of these approaches is following the HIPAA Privacy Rule. The HIPAA Privacy Rule has introduced national benchmarks to protect the patient’s health record (PHI) and other health evidence that need to be stored confidentially. Such a policy provides patients with more supervision of their personal evidence as well as establishes limits on the use and publication of the individual’s health records. Following the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2021), “it establishes appropriate safeguards that health care providers and others must achieve to protect the privacy of health information” (para. 2). Due to these safeguards, violators of the individual’s privacy rights are held accountable, and penalties may be imposed.
There are cases when disclosure of some piece of health evidence is needed, such as protection of public health, for instance. The HIPAA Privacy Rule then settles the balance between the patient and the health care services by informing the individual on when and why their data may be used. In addition, it empowers individuals to obtain a copy of their health records and request corrections if needed (U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, 2021, para. 11). Therefore, such a policy ensures that the disclosures of personal patient records will be minimized and gives individuals the right to control the use of their health evidence within the medical services.
On the whole, protecting the patient’s health records is rather important since medical services work with substantial amounts of the individual’s data, which should be processed in compliance with privacy rules. Widespread information technologies’ application in data communication encourages the development of emerging trends used in medical services. Measures taken to protect health data such as encryption and the HIPAA Privacy Rule are widely used.
Seol, K., Kim, Y. G., Lee, E., Seo, Y. D., & Baik, D. K. (2018). Privacy-Preserving Attribute-Based access control model for XML-Based electronic health record system. IEEE Access, 6, 9114–9128. Web.
U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. (2021). Health information privacy. HHS.Gov. Web.
Webber, E. C., Brick, D., Scibilia, J. P., & Dehnel, P. (2019). Electronic communication of the health record and information with pediatric patients and their guardians. Pediatrics, 144(1), 79–87. Web.