Several countries worldwide are currently implementing electronic health records (EHRs) under the assumption that it will improve healthcare delivery and treatment outcomes. Although positive outcomes are possible, several ethical issues regarding privacy, confidentiality, maltreatment, and fraud issues have been raised because of the EHR system implementation. Privacy breaches and health information safety have always been issues in the healthcare profession, but healthcare professionals are concerned that fewer security breaches in the EHR system would have more devastating consequences than breaches in the previous system. In radiology and imaging sciences, current objectives include narrow specializations and expanding the knowledge of clinical terms to prevent potential abuse and confidentiality breaches.
Privacy and confidentiality are the highest values in healthcare. The doctor-patient relationship should be strictly confidential, and doctors are not allowed to disclose any information without the patient’s consent in most circumstances. Failure to preserve confidential relationships contributes to negative social paradigms about the entire healthcare profession and possibly prevents some individuals from seeking medical attention at all. However, the EHRs were created to improve healthcare delivery, and one of the aspects is the possibility of transferring data to and from hospitals. That method of information exchange could lead to more errors in diagnostics and treatments because it does not distinctly define ownership of information and the side responsible for decision-making. Although errors could be non-intentional, too many opinions in one situation could result in patient maltreatment.
Furthermore, the technical nature of the position often resulted in neglecting clinical terms, so radiologists were often required to seek assistance from surgeons and other healthcare professionals to write reports on diagnostic tests and analyze those reports to suggest possible treatments. Although all doctors should follow the same ethical code, radiologists should be capable of independent thinking. Modern medicine emphasizes interdisciplinary teams, so radiologists should collaborate with other healthcare professionals on equal grounds rather than conducting tests and depending on other professionals for interpretations and decision-making.
The introduction of EHRs will definitely transform the radiological and imaging fields in healthcare because those fields have great potential for unethical behavior and damaging patients. One solution is narrow specialization for radiologists, so they will become familiar with particular aspects of human health. Contemporary healthcare delivery is often based on the interdisciplinary approach to solving medical disorders, so a narrow specialization will allow radiologists to understand particular medical issues in greater detail. It will also allow them to communicate and collaborate with other healthcare professionals more effectively. Most importantly, the quality of healthcare delivery will improve because radiologists with a narrow specialization will increase their understanding of particular medical issues, so they will be able to prevent fraud and patient maltreatment related to their roles in healthcare facilities.