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Computers and Medical Records: Legal Problems

Can you please describe any new legal problems that you see emerging in the future as a result of the widespread use of computer information systems in regards to medical records?

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Please refer to attached file response. I hope this helps and take care.



I. Electronic Health Records Software Risks:

1. Privacy and Confidentiality Issues:

Police investigations can legally search and seize computers to obtaining electronic evidence in criminal investigations (http://www.usdoj.gov/criminal/cybercrime/s&smanual2002.htm).

Potential hackers could gain access to the Electronic Medical Records or thieves could steal the hard drive.

2. Technological competency issues:

Are all the staff proficient in the technology? Malpractice could occur, for example, if the information of meds and appointments and the like were entered incorrectly into the records system.

3. Other potential Risks are listed in the article below:

(1) Risks for Computerized Records

From the perspective of professional liability, the computerized medical record poses less risk than multiple medical histories in different locations, all with different, or contradictory, information. A physician in an emergency room can access vital data, and check a patient's allergies or prescription medication, even if the patient is unable to describe or recall his or her medical history. The electronic record improves patient care by ensuring that the correct information, such as the proper medication or dosage, is retrievable and legible.

However, the advantages that attend the electronic medical record in a multiprovider network, including the final link which connects the institution with the office-based physician, increase the risk that its confidentiality cannot be adequately maintained. In hospitals, nursing homes, physicians' offices, home health agencies, and health maintenance organizations or other managed care plans, billing clerks, data entry operators, nurses, secretaries, and other personnel may have easy access to exponential amounts of centralized medical information.

The increased volume and sophistication of computerized patient information also make that information more valuable to users who wish to sell, exploit, or abuse it. A single breach of a patient record system's security can result in almost instantaneous transmissions of thousands of confidential records. In information systems which are not well monitored, remote access may pass without notice. Integrated delivery systems and multiprovider networks must secure that information from access by electronic trespassers while at the same time allowing routine access by qualified users.

(2) New Security Threats

1. The laws which govern the confidentiality of health care information require proper system and data security. If a system lacks reasonable security in design, operation, or maintenance, a court could determine that the records stored on that system are not sufficiently reliable to be admissible in a legal proceeding. As a result, a health ...

Solution Summary

This solution describes any new legal problems that might emerge in the future as a result of the widespread use of computer information systems in regards to medical records. It also lists the benefits of using computer information systems.