The Mobile Technology Era: Potential Benefits and the Challenging Quest to Ensure Patient Privacy and Confidentiality
The Mobile Technology Era: Potential Benefits and the Challenging Quest to Ensure Patient Privacy and Confidentiality. .
Smartphones and mobile devices have a profound effect on all and have become a part of everyone’s personal and professional lives, including those of doctors. The effect of using these devices on patient confidentiality is assessed
Impact of Mobile Devices
Physicians and surgeons increasingly use smartphones and mobile gadgets especially mobile photography in professional and academic settings. The use of smartphones allows them to facilitate patient care management, communication with other health care professionals and as a tool to streamline and hasten workflows, potentially reducing costs.
The potentially insecure storage of confidential patient information on mobile devices and electronic transmission of this data over cloud based networks etc are a source of concern and violation of the Privacy and Security Rules of Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 ( HIPAA). The confidentiality of health information is at risk not only by the risk of improper access to the devices, but also by the risk of interception during electronic transmission. These concerns are weighed against the benefits of rapid interventions, physician and resident education and patient care to determine the best way to incorporate the use of mobile devices without affecting patient confidentiality
Privacy concerns are weighed against the benefits of rapid interventions, physician and resident education and patient care to determine the best way to incorporate the use of mobile devices without affecting patient confidentiality. The Privacy Rule was finalized on August 14, 2002. The goal was to establish national standards to protect all “individually identifiable health information” held or transmitted by a covered entity or its business associate, in any form or media, whether electronic, paper, or oral”, called protected health information.
With the purpose of adopting safeguards to protect the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of electronic protected health information, the Security Rule of the Administrative Simplification provisions was made effective on April 21, 2003. The Security Rule protects a subset of information which is all Individually Identifiable Health Information a covered entity creates, receives, maintains or transmits in electronic form ( not applicable to protected health information transmitted orally or in writing). The Security Rule requires the covered entities to review and modify their security measures to continue protecting electronic protected health information in a changing environment.
Conclusion and Discussion
It is very important for all people having access to patient data to be familiar with these rules and safeguards and to be very careful in the use and transmission of electronic information. They also have the responsibility of assuring patients, providers and other stakeholders of the security of their protected information
- Rodriguez-Feliz, Jose R.. The Mobile Technology Era. Plastic and reconstructive surgery (2012 )