Technological advances facilitate the way people perform their work and streamline internal processes in organizations, providing better efficiency and comfort. One of the examples of such innovations is the electronic medical or health records systems (EMR or EHR). They were introduced to U.S. healthcare in 2009 with the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH) (Shanholtzer, 2015). Yet, it is important to understand that the adoption of such systems may also entail potential risks to the privacy and security of patients’ data. The primary issues of EMRs stem from the lack of protection, which hospitals often overlook since they do not have specialists with expertise in this sphere. Ultimately, this vulnerability with EMRs can lead to a situation when unauthorized individuals or organizations will be able to gain access to the records of numerous patients. This endangers the privacy of people’s health information and opens endless possibilities for criminals willing to engage in such illicit activity. For example, a data breach in a hospital’s EMR system can provide perpetrators with private records which they can release to the public.
Moreover, other issues related to EMRs include hospital employees with malicious intent to steal information about their patients, and poor management, which can lead to the destruction of the information. Yet, in my view, cyberattacks on the hospitals’ digital infrastructure and the resulting data breaches are the most dangerous and need to be addressed first. There is a variety of ways to protect EMRs from unwanted visitors, for instance, by installing encryption and passwords (Rodriguez, 2011). Thus, when introducing EMR systems to hospitals, the team in charge must ensure that they not only abide by the HIPPA provisions but also have safeguards to prevent any breaches.
Rodriguez, L. (2011). Privacy, security, and electronic health records. Health IT Buzz. Web.
Shanholtzer, M. B. (2015). Health information management and technology (1st ed.). McGraw-Hill.