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Operations, Technology, Data Security, And Ethics

Prepare a 3-4 page proposal for a new software system that explains the forces driving the change, the ethical considerations behind the proposed change, the risks to the organization of not accepting the proposed change, and the benefits of accepting the proposed change.
Organizations, such as the Joint Commission and the National Committee for Quality Assurance, collect and report extensive data on quality indicators used by the industry, government, and consumers. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), passed by Congress in 1996, protects the privacy and confidentiality of patient health records. The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services oversees this compliance and offers comprehensive support and guidance for health care leaders and organizations.
The use of health information technology and electronic health records continues to improve quality of care indicators and offer expanding career opportunities in the health care field. However, keeping abreast of rapid advancements in technology (for both management and clinical applications), along with their ethical implications, demands increased time and attention from health care operations managers. The consequences of data security breaches can be detrimental in legal costs and loss of reputation and trust within the industry and community.
Imagine that you work in a mid-sized clinic that is well established, having been in operation for over 25 years. The physicians who practice in the clinic have been doing so for the same length of time, although several younger physicians have recently joined. You have been trying to get the physicians to upgrade the outdated health information technology (HIT) system for the practice. There have been reports of compromised patient information from other organizations using the same software. Complaints have been increasing from other health facilities and insurance companies that the software is not compatible with their electronic health records (EHR) systems. This compromises efficient and confidential sharing of patient information. Patients have expressed dissatisfaction that the practice does not offer a patient portal to allow them direct access to their records and information and to self-scheduling features. You feel that a personal health record (PHR) would meet the patients’ need as well as alleviate a lot of extra work for the staff. The office and administrative staff are increasingly frustrated, as they understand how much of their daily workload duties and flow could be improved with an entirely new system. The physicians have been resistant to change the system because it will require extensive time and money to integrate. Although it is obvious that there are multiple ethical concerns present, they are uncomfortable with managing such a large change in the practice, especially in training themselves and the staff on how to use it effectively and efficiently.
You just received a notice from the software company informing you that by the end of the year, they will no longer support that software. The company is also offering a significant discount to upgrade to their latest software system. You must convince the group of physicians that the time to upgrade is now, but you need to position a proposal in a way that will show them the risks of not taking action.
For this assessment, you do not need to research or recommend any type of software. Rather, your task is to explain why the new software is needed in terms of the driving forces, the ethical principles involved, the risks associated with not accepting your proposal, and how the upgrade will benefit the entire organization.
Research federal regulations around the use of technology and data, HIPAA, and probable consequences should patient information be hacked. (The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights identifies real cases of HIPAA violations on its Web site.) Find at least three authoritative resources to use as support for your proposal.
Structure this assessment in a clear, logical order, using headings and subheadings as appropriate. Follow APA guidelines for citing and referencing your resources. Include a title page and references page.
Prepare a proposal for the implementation of a new electronic patient health record system. In your proposal, complete the following:

  • Explain the external forces that are driving the proposal. (Hint: federal regulations are not the only forces you should consider.)
  • Explain the ethical considerations that are driving the proposal.
  • Describe the risks and their associated ethical challenges related to not accepting the proposal. (Hint: there are many risks here. Be sure you consider the risks from multiple perspectives.)
  • Explain how the proposed change will benefit and ensure ethical integrity for the organization, employees, and patients.

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