Protecting the Privacy of Patient's Health Information
Whenever a patient sees a physician, is admitted to a hospital, goes to a pharmacist or sends a claim to a health insurance company, a record is made of the patient’s confidential health information. In the good old days when records were stored in locked files, access to this information was limited to those who worked in the doctor’s office. Now, with the development of new technologies, private health information can be stored on computers, sent to another physician via email and shared over the world wide web. These new technologies make it easier for doctors and hospitals to share vital information about a patient. Imagine if you were in a car accident in a state far from home, the ability for a doctor to receive your records electronically and know your complete health history could mean the difference between life and death. However, that same technology, when not properly safeguarded, could lead to information being received by people for whom it was not intended.