NUR 425 Essay
Health informatics plays a critical role in today’s healthcare field and has experienced substantial growth in recent times. The field has also rapidly evolved due to fast-moving technological advances. The implication is that keeping up with ethical, legal, and social issues connected to health informatics can be challenging. As such, health informatics professionals have to be guided by various local, state, and federal regulations and codes formulated by organizations such as the American Health Information Management Association (Magnuson& Dixon, 2020). Among such regulations cover areas such as privacy of patient information or data breaches. Therefore, the purpose of this assignment is to choose an ethical, legal, or social issue in health informatics, discuss why the issue is important in today’s healthcare, identify professional standards and best practices for improved outcomes, and recommend a nursing change or policy related to the issue.

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Introduction of the Issue, Context, and Relevant History
The issue of focus is the privacy of patient information/data breaches. The use of informatics has been key to the improvement of patient outcomes. However, one of the major issues connected to the use of informatics is the privacy of patient information and data breaches. Healthcare professionals are tasked with protecting the patient’s private information when handling patients (Chernyshev et al., 2019). However, whenever there is a breach of data, the patient’s private and confidential information can be accessed by unauthorized individuals, hence breaking the laws and codes connected to the privacy of patient data and information. This issue mostly affects patients since when there are data breaches; their information is accessed by unauthorized individuals who can use the information to hurt them. The issue also affects the healthcare professionals who allow unauthorized sharing of data, hence can face litigation.
The Importance of the Issue in Today’s Healthcare
Patient information/data breaches are a legal issue that is important in today’s healthcare. An underestimation of the importance of keeping patient information private and preventing data breaches can lead to devastating impacts, including financial fraud and personal data theft. Indeed, in the recent past, the cases of healthcare data breaches have risen substantially, leading to unwanted outcomes (Mabee, 2020). Patient private information should remain private and confidential and only accessed by authorized individuals. The implication is that healthcare professionals should always strive to keep the data private to help protect patients and improve their satisfaction. The issue is also important since breaking the guidelines can lead to unwanted outcomes such as dissatisfaction among patients and litigation. Even though it may not be easy to detect cybercriminals and data thieves, it is much easier to sue health providers with weak patient data security mechanisms for the loss of privacy that makes individuals feel unsafe and vulnerable. Therefore, healthcare organizations should use appropriate strategies to protect patients’ private information and prevent potential data breaches, data theft, and loss of privacy.
Professional Standards and Best Practice for Improved Outcomes
It is evident that data breaches comprise the safety of patient data, implying that professional standards and best practices should be used and followed to ensure improved outcomes. One of the strategies that can be applied is the development of a data security plan. A comprehensive data security plan should be formulated to help prevent breaches and safeguard healthcare information. Such a plan can be created by first performing a risk assessment which can help in identifying potential vulnerabilities. Formulating an incident response plan is another strategy. This approach can help the organization prevent escalations whenever an incident or a breach occurs (“ANIA,” 2022). The next strategy is data encryption which can be key when mitigating the cyber attack consequences. Encrypted data significantly reduce the chances of unauthorized data access and data theft. It is also important to limit third-party access. Even though third parties such as managed care providers and payers play key roles in healthcare, their access to patient data can pose a risk to patient data privacy. Therefore, the organization should strive to limit such third-party access by auditing and monitoring third-party access and using strict data access controls.
Nursing Change or Policy Related to the Issue
Data breaches negatively impact healthcare organizations and patients. Even though so many measures have been used to help prevent data breaches of private patient information, the phenomenon is still common, leading to financial fraud and the loss of huge amounts of money. The implication is that nursing change or policy changes should be explored to help improve the situation (Gabriel et al., 2018). One of the potential changes is introducing a policy that bans the use of personal devices in the organization’s networks with patient data. Some of the cases of data breaches can be a result of theft using personal devices such as laptops and smartphones, which may not be well monitored and tracked by the organization. Therefore, a ban on such devices can lead to improved security of patient information.
Conclusion
Ethical, legal, and social issues related to patient care are important in the healthcare sector. Therefore, healthcare organizations should try and follow established guidelines and jurisdiction laws and abide by them to enhance improved patient outcomes. Privacy of patient information/data breaches can lead to various unwanted outcomes such as data theft and financial fraud, hence a need to ensure that patients’ private and confidential information remains safe.
References
ANIA. (2022). Position statement. https://www.ania.org/position-statements
Chernyshev, M., Zeadally, S., & Baig, Z. (2019). Healthcare data breaches: Implications for digital forensic readiness. Journal of Medical Systems, 43, 1-12. 10.1007/s10916-018-1123-2
Gabriel, M. H., Noblin, A., Rutherford, A., Walden, A., & Cortelyou-Ward, K. (2018). Data breach locations, types, and associated characteristics among US hospitals. Am J Manag Care, 24(2), 78–84. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29461854/
Mabee, M. J. (2020). Healthcare Data Breaches in South Dakota: Post-Breach Legislation Is Not Enough. SDL Rev., 65, 511. https://heinonline.org/HOL/LandingPage?handle=hein.journals/sdlr65&div=25&id=&page=
Magnuson, J. A., & Dixon, B. E. (Eds.). (2020). Public health informatics and information systems. Springer Nature.

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Instructions:

Review professional organizations standards and guidelines for ethical, legal, or social considerations in informatics. Examples include as the American Nursing Informatics Association (ANIA), American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), the American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA), and The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS).

Choose an ethical, legal, or social issue in health informatics. Some examples of ethical, legal or social issues include: Privacy of Patient Information/Data Breaches, Patient Safety, Research Data Ethics, User involvement and Accessibility, Ethics with data sharing and availability, False Claims, Fraud and Abuse, Public Health Monitoring/Surveillance, Telehealth/Telemedicine, Biometrics (or any topic you choose).

Write a 3-5 page paper (excluding title and reference pages):

Introduce the ethical, legal or social issue describing the context and relevant history. Include who is or are most likely to be impacted by this issue.

Discuss why the ethical, legal or social issue is important in today’s healthcare.

Identify professional standards and best practices for improved outcomes related to this ethical, legal or social issue.

Recommend a nursing practice change or policy related to this ethical, legal or social issue.

Support your essay with the professional standards and guidelines of at least one professional organization for informatics. In addition, incorporate at least 2 scholarly resources published within the past five (5) years (remember that websites and blogs are not scholarly resources).

APA 7th edition format required.

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