Ethics and compliance in healthcare hippa

Document Type:Thesis

Subject Area:Business

Document 1

For healthcare practitioners, the code of ethics defines what is right, wrong, and bad decisions which cannot be implemented at the workplace. When an organization upholds a good code of ethics, their employees will strive for excellence and produce the best work at their workplace (Principles of Medical Ethics, 1995-2014). On the contrary, compliance refers to minimizing misconduct by abiding by the laws set to regulate professional conduct (Dubovitskaya et al. In the healthcare industry, healthcare practitioners are required to uphold the highest level of security and privacy when handling patients’ data. The Healthcare Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) was passed into law by President Clinton to set standards on how healthcare professionals should manage and share a patient’s health records (Maradiegue, 2012). The HIPAA law has established specific standards with which healthcare practitioners must conform to such that patients’ health must be protected (Maradiegue, 2012). Primarily, HIPAA regulations are built on two fundamental principles; administrative simplification and Privacy Protection (Angelos, 2005). Mostly, medical practitioners have regarded HIPAA regulations as complex and complicated principles with several administrative hoops which require them to jump through with no apparent benefit for individual patients. For many healthcare professionals and facilities, HIPAA compliance is something that they don’t even know how changing from ethical requirements to legal standards make it different or more important. The most frequent case in which medical practitioners find a hitch between compliance and ethical conduct which is required to be in line with HIPAA requirements is incidental disclosures. Primarily, HIPAA rules and regulations have clearly stated that medical practitioners have to adhere to the principle of privacy by doing their best to prevent the sharing of a patient’s health information to unwarranted persons or without the consent of the patient (Maradiegue, 2012).

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For this principle to hold, medical professionals must remain adherent to ethical laws as well as HIPAA regulations. How can this be possible in times of emergencies? Does this HIPAA privacy rule contribute to any better of the patient? Hospitals are public places in which many people work or go for check-ups, and this implies that talking to one another is unpreventable. The article on Protecting the Privacy of Personal Health Information (2019) has pointed out that the general privacy rules founded on HIPAA principles do not prohibit medical practitioners from talking to one another during treatment procedure to a patient. Of course, some persons outside the treatment team may be within the treatment area, and it may be difficult to prevent them from hearing what the medical officers are sharing. Additionally, the HIPAA regulations do not prohibit medical practitioners from sharing information of the patient provided appropriate measures are put in place (The U.

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S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2017). In this case, appropriate measures depending on the situation in which the patient and the practitioners find themselves. Hence, medical practitioners find themselves on the crossroads of ethical conduct and compliance as to whether to adhere to the privacy rule or share necessary information within the treatment area to save a life if it was an emergency. The Federal officials have pointed out that “one size fits all scenario” when it comes to developing and implementing the ethics and compliance program is a fallacy (“The U. S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2014”). Maradiegue (2012) posits that for healthcare organizations to comply with HIPAA regulations, it is essential for healthcare organizations to promote a culture which encourages the employees to adhere to ethical conduct and commitment to abide by the law.

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In this sense, compliance pertains to the law whereas ethics means doing right even when no one is watching (Maradiegue, 2012). In this case, the physician may have shared the information unknowingly. However, HIPAA regulations have provided how healthcare professions should communicate medical reports to individual patients without having third parties listening to the report (Maradiegue, 2012). For instance, in case the medical officer is giving a laboratory report after an examination, the officer may ask all people within the room to move out such that he or she can have ample time to communicate with the patient. Alternatively, the practitioners may talk to the patient on low tones to avoid the other parties listening to the report. Since ethics involves doing the right thing even in the absence of the law, medical practitioners may at times compromise HIPAA regulations by exposing the patient’s health to other third parties either knowingly or unknowingly (Maradiegue, 2012).

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It should be concluded that changing something from moral responsibility to legal obligations does not make these laws any better since there is no apparent evidence that HIPAA regulations have forced healthcare professionals to consider how they share a patient’s personal health information. With these regards, healthcare practitioners should regard HIPAA regulations as supportive tools which guide them in judging and providing quality healthcare services to patients. Although not every HIPAA regulation is grounded in ethical principles, however, it can be seen that the overall thrust is that HIPAA regulations are coherent with the ethical practice of healthcare practice. Hence, with this general alignment with the ethical practice, medical practitioners should give more attention to using good judgment in deciding how and why they should disclose a patient’s personal health data.

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Although it may be difficult to completely comply with the legal conformity of the HIPAA regulations, especially in the context of inadvertent disclosure and incidental disclosures, medical practitioners can collaborate with risk managers and practice administrators to create models which foster good communication in patient care. Dubovitskaya, A. Xu, Z. Ryu, S. Schumacher, M. Wang, F. org/ama/pub/physician-resources/medical-ethics/code-medical-ethics/principles-medical-ethics. page. Protecting the Privacy of Personal Health Information. Retrieved February 26, 2019 from http://www. hipaanews. Retrieved from http://privacyruleandresearch. nih. gov/. U. S. W. Glaser, J. P.  Health care information systems: a practical approach for health care management. John Wiley & Sons.

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