The first ethical implication of patient-clinician messaging actually pertains to the confidentiality and privacy of personal health information. Using the secure web based messaging system eliminates the requirement for super encryption that would be needed for the traditional email. The second implication is that the patient clinician messaging may cause unequal access to health care for the individuals who are not conversant with internet or who cannot access it. Another implication is the worry in the health circles that this patient clinician messaging may obliterate the interpersonal patient/physician relationship that is very vital in the provision of quality health care. Messaging can never replace the face to face patient doctor visits: rather, messaging is only meant to supplement the regular visits for cost savings and efficiency purposes.
The patients should always be given the choice of online communication after the online communication process has been explained to them efficiently. This will give enable them to make an informed decision on whether to make use of this feature. Clear parameters should also be established before this feature is utilized so as to outline the content or subject matter that will be appropriate for discussion via the messaging service. This is because there are some types of interaction that require to be conducted face to face or in person, for example, the delivery of an unexpected diagnosis or conduction of a physical exam. Finally, for fairness purposes, there is the need for insurance companies to reimburse clinicians for time spent on the messaging service interacting with the patients. Performance measures should also be established around this feature.
As a training manager, there are training procedures that I would put in effect to ensure that an occurrence like the one that took place at the UCLA Hospital where the private health records of celebrities were accessed never happens again. I would ensure that staff members of the organization go through annual training on confidentiality. In this particular situation when a lot of personal information can be accessed by the staff, the training would incorporate the rules and regulations of HIPAA in its curriculum. The staff should be educated that violating the privacy of a patient can lead to massive ramifications. Additionally, the employees would be trained about the laws and ethics that pertain to the confidentiality of the private health records of patients, the disciplinary measures or lawsuits that may occur when a patient’s privacy is breached and finally on information security tips and safeguards of general management.
This kind of training would be very effective because it would teach and allow them to follow protocol and also adhere to the policies, regulations procedures and practices of the workplace on issues regarding patient’s confidentiality and privacy of their personal information and records. The training would also be effective because it would remind the employees of the legal consequences and implications of a patient’s personal record and information breach.
Over 120 UCLA Hospital Staff Saw Celebrity Health Records. (2012). Retrieved March 20, 2011, from http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,398784,00.html
Wolper, L. F. (2011). Health care administration: Managing organized delivery systems (5 th ed.). Boston: Jones and Bartlett