While the law should be observed in all situations, HIM professionals must act according to their professional code of ethics; this is what they vowed to observe.
This paper is arranged as follows:
ii. Roles of HIM professionals
iii. Ethical and legal challenges facing HIM professionals; the case of abortion and euthanasia.
iv. How HIM professionals can overcome the challenges.
This section gives the general overview of the paper.
The Health Information Management (HIM) is a profession that comes along with many legal, ethical and moral issues coalesced within it. A HIM professional, in the course of his/her career, might encounter situations that result into legal, ethical and moral dilemmas. Considered herein are the cases of abortion and euthanasia, which indeed, present both legal and ethical dilemmas to HIM professionals. While the law should be observed in all situations, HIM professionals must act according to their professional code of ethics; this is what they vowed to observe. The study discusses the legal and ethical dimensions of these two cases and advises on the direction which HIM professionals should take.
Roles of HIM professionals
This section highlights the duties of HIM professionals. It includes wide consultation of various reference materials as given in the main paper. Here is the outline. HIM professionals are directly involved in maintaining patient’s health information and medical records. They are the guardians and caretakers of personal health information by ensuring security of patient’s confidential information, and allowing access to such information according to strict state and federal laws. They plan, collect, analyze and disseminate the individual patient’s case records. They are also responsible for providing quality healthcare by updating the available sources of information about healthcare services. In the course of their duty, HIM professionals encounter various ethical and moral dilemmas, such as the case of abortion and euthanasia.
Ethical and legal challenges facing HIM professionals
This section discusses the challenges facing HIM professionals. Presented here is just the outline. The main paper is a product of a wide research on the same. Abortion and euthanasia are viewed as crimes by many countries because they lead to untimely end to human life. For a HIM professional, it is ethical and essential to provide patients with utmost privacy when it comes to dealing with their health records. However, in countries where abortion and euthanasia are viewed as a crime, the HIM professionals might be under both legal and ethical dilemma; to disclose the information as required by the law, or to conceal the information in accordance with the professional code of ethics. While abortion is an individual’s own decision, supported by concrete and satisfactory reasons beyond any doubt, the law in most countries prohibits it. These laws state that no person has the right to end the life of another person, whether the latter exists as few cluster of cells in the fetal stage, or otherwise. This is considered a capital crime.
How to overcome the challenges
Highlighted hereunder is an outline of how HIM professionals can overcome the challenges. In order to overcome the challenges, it is important to make balanced decisions by effectively evaluating the pros and cons involved in each case. Both the legal and ethical considerations should be evaluated thoroughly and an impartial decision be made. The HIM professional must, however, be responsible for the decisions and actions, as revealed by this study.
McWay, D. C. Legal and Ethical Aspects of Health Information Management. 3rd Ed. Delmar Cengage Learning, 2009.