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Analysis of a Pertinent Healthcare Issue 

Assignment: Analysis of a Pertinent Healthcare Issue

The Quadruple Aim provides broad categories of goals to pursue to maintain and improve healthcare. Within each goal are many issues that, if addressed successfully, may have a positive impact on outcomes. For example, healthcare leaders are being tasked to shift from an emphasis on disease management often provided in an acute care setting to health promotion and disease prevention delivered in primary care settings. Efforts in this area can have significant positive impacts by reducing the need for primary healthcare and by reducing the stress on the healthcare system.

Changes in the industry only serve to stress what has always been true; namely, that the healthcare field has always faced significant challenges, and that goals to improve healthcare will always involve multiple stakeholders. This should not seem surprising given the circumstances. Indeed, when a growing population needs care, there are factors involved such as the demands of providing that care and the rising costs associated with healthcare. Generally, it is not surprising that the field of healthcare is an industry facing multifaceted issues that evolve over time.

In this module’s Discussion, you reviewed some healthcare issues/stressors and selected one for further review. For this Assignment, you will consider in more detail the healthcare issue/stressor you selected. You will also review research that addresses the issue/stressor and write a white paper to your organization’s leadership that addresses the issue/stressor you selected.

To Prepare:

  • Review the national healthcare issues/stressors presented in the Resources and reflect on the national healthcare issue/stressor you selected for study.

  • Reflect on the feedback you received from your colleagues on your Discussion post for the national healthcare issue/stressor you selected.

  • Identify and review two additional scholarly resources (not included in the Resources for this module) that focus on change strategies implemented by healthcare organizations to address your selected national healthcare issue/stressor.

The Assignment (3-4 Pages):

Analysis of a Pertinent Healthcare Issue

Develop a 3- to 4-page paper, written to your organization’s leadership team, addressing your selected national healthcare issue/stressor and how it is impacting your work setting. Be sure to address the following:

  • Describe the national healthcare issue/stressor you selected and its impact on your organization. Use organizational data to quantify the impact (if necessary, seek assistance from leadership or appropriate stakeholders in your organization).

  • Provide a brief summary of the two articles you reviewed from outside resources on the national healthcare issue/stressor. Explain how the healthcare issue/stressor is being addressed in other organizations.

  • Summarize the strategies used to address the organizational impact of national healthcare issues/stressors presented in the scholarly resources you selected. Explain how they may impact your organization both positively and negatively. Be specific and provide examples.

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 Analysis of a Pertinent Healthcare Issue 

Patient Data Privacy and its Impacts on Organizations

Data privacy has for long remained a significant challenge to the national healthcare system. With the evolving use of technology in hospital data management systems, information privacy is crucial to the healthcare sector's stakeholders. Arguably, the hospitals' use of patient information systems is useful to physicians, administrators, and patients in institutional processes. They must not have unauthorized access as this would amount to gross violation of patient rights. Privacy of patient information is still a challenge, as there have been instances of data theft or loss of data in poorly encrypted systems or giving access to unauthorized individuals. Therefore, the discourse about Patient information security is a critical national issue in the healthcare system.

            To get a clear picture of the data breach in U.S. hospitals, take a case of the following examples. Gabriel (2018) conducted research to identify the hospital locations in the U.S. where data was breached, the type of breach, and the hospital's data management systems' characteristics. He revealed that hospital data breaches account for 30% of large data security incidents reported to the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) from 2009to 2016.  Similarly, a total of 215 breaches were noted, affecting more than 500 patients, with 185 incidences taking place in non-federal acute care hospitals. Further, the study found that thirty hospitals experienced multiple accounts of breaches, including 24 hospitals that had two breaches, five hospitals reporting three breaches. In contrast, one hospital had four attempted data theft.

In responding to patient data management issues, security issues have been heightened to ensure compliance with human rights legislation. For example, the U.S. federal state enacted the HIPAA in 1960 to protect patient information using electronic protected health information systems. With the enforcement of data protection policies by the national government, some of these issues are resolved to ensure that all stakeholders, especially patients, have faith in both the private and public health sectors. Developing secure systems for a patient data protection using the available technology is a priority to the healthcare system and requires the collaboration of all stakeholders, including the national government.

Summary of Reviewed Articles on Patient Data Safety

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One of the articles reviewed, as already discussed previously, is the work of Gabriel (2018), which focuses on hospital locations where the data breach occurred in the health information technology systems. With the developing technological applications, the author states that healthcare ransomware has been efficiently used to attack even the most sophisticated biometric securities, resulting in large data breaches. This study employs the use of descriptive statistics in characterizing hospitals with and those without a data breach. Similarly, the researcher uses multivariate logistic regression analysis to explore specific characteristics like areas affected, health system membership, use of biometrics, and other factors, thus making predictions for future trends.

In his conclusion, Gabriel (2018) recommends that routine audits should be conducted by hospitals, allowing them to see their vulnerabilities long before they are attacked. Through this, the institutions remain proactive in preventing cyber-attacks and data-related theft. Similarly, Gabriel (2018) recommends that the implementation of information security systems should be done concurrently with health information technologies.

In a separate research study, Demirel (2017) recognizes the important role of information management systems in hospitals. He asserts that information regarding patients must be collected in a correct, complete and interdependent format. As such, these information management systems are essential in providing patients with confidence, satisfaction, strengthening internal communication networks, reducing costs, and reliable data storage in a digital environment (Demirel, 2017). The hospital management information system's applications can not be overemphasized. It contributes to the smooth running of operations like patient registration and acceptance, inpatient discharge procedures, patient follow-up, referrals, central hospitalizations, emergency services, human resources, health boards, and auditing purposes. In his conclusion, Demirel (2017) states that hospital information systems are useful in storing patient data and reiterating the need for them to be kept safely out of unauthorized persons' reach.

Organizational strategies used to address patient data security.

            Any data breach has far-reaching consequences for the institution involved, both in legal dimensions and the organization's reputation. Because of these consequences, hospitals and other health organizations must implement effective strategies to prevent data theft and data loss, compromising patient information security.

            The first step in preventing data breaches in hospitals is educating the employees on keeping patient data secure and confidential. Since these employees have access to the data, they should use it discretely in compliance with the patient rights guidelines, maintaining confidentiality when they have access to the information.

Regular software updates should be done to the hospital data management systems. This keeps the systems up to date and airtight avoiding unnecessary instances of cyber-attack or data loss that may occur when obsolete software is used. The hospitals should also encrypt their information management systems for the secure storage of patient information. This is done by the implementation of data protection policies as directed by the relevant health Acts. Implementing these strategies effectively will promote data security, thus eliminating data loss and breach of patient rights in hospitals, making healthcare better.

 

References

Demirel, D. (2017). Hospital Management Information Systems in Health Sector and Development in Turkey. Journal of Current Researches on Health Sector, 7(1), 1-15.

Gabriel, M. H. (2018). Data Breach Locations, Types, and Associated Characteristics Among U.S. Hospitals. American Journal of Managed Care (AJMC), 24(2), 78-84.

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