Maintaining patients’ data safety has become increasingly topical and important in the context of the 21st century and the application of digital tools as the means of managing information. Seeing that hospitals keep a detailed record of not only their patients’ health issues but also their private data, it is imperative to make sure that the nursing facility in question complies with the current legal requirements for health informatics (HI) and has developed an appropriate framework.
Although the Kendall Regional Medical Center (KRMC) provides a detailed description of the data required from the patient, as well as explains to what use it will be put, the current policy clearly lacks the elements that would ensure patients’ personal information security. Therefore, a more elaborate approach toward data management should be designed (Mantas, Househ, & Hasman, 2014).
UK Health Regulations and the Rules of KRMC
A wide array of HI-related regulations has been passed over the past few decades. As the table below shows, the framework currently used at KRMC could be improved by focusing on ensuring the security of the patients’ personal data. Therefore, the approaches adopted presently in the facility will have to be modified so that a patient-centered framework could be designed.
Table 1. UK Healthcare Information Management Regulations vs. the KRMC Strategy
|Access to Health Records Act 1990: |
Only health professionals have the access to the patient’s health record (Her Majesty’s Government, 1990).
|Facility personnel and the agents of the facility are entitled to accessing the patient’s data (Kendall Regional Medical Center, 2016).||The terms “personnel” and “agents” should be defined in a more accurate manner so that only the members of the healthcare units could access the data.|
|Data Protection Act (DPA): |
DPA guarantees that the patient’s data should be used fairly and lawfully, as well as for limited purposes clarified specifically to the patients (Her Majesty’s Government, 1998).
|KRMC members are obliged to use the data that patients entrusted them with in a fair and lawful manner. More importantly, the facility does not seem to be eager to provide their patients with access to their medical records regularly (Kendall Regional Medical Center, 2016).||KRMC clearly lacks the clarification phase. The organization members should be more specific when detailing the reasons for using patients’ private data and records information. Furthermore, it is desirable that the patients should be given an opportunity to revisit their health records.|
|Patient Rights (Scotland) Act 2011 |
The legislation states quite clearly that no information “which would infringe patient confidentiality” (Her Majesty’s Government, 2011) should be provided to any third parties, even in case the patient is incapable of acting on their own (e.g., due to a severe mental or physical impairment).
|The representatives of the KRMC facility do not seem to have a lenient attitude toward the caregivers of patients with disadvantages. Specifically, the essential information from the patients’ records is provided to the caregivers only on demand (Kendall Regional Medical Center, 2016).||The existing approach, though posing obstacles to the family members on their way to retrieving crucial information about the patients under their wardship (Corti, Van den Eynden, Bishop, & Woollard, 2014).|
Although KRMC meets several criteria for personal information storage and management, it clearly fails to meet the needs of the patients by depriving them of an opportunity to check their records and carry out the related actions. The scenario that the members of KRMC are facing clearly is a prime example of trying too hard without evaluating the implications. Therefore, a more flexible approach with more concern for the needs of the target audience should be designed.
Corti, L., Van den Eynden, V., Bishop, L., & Woollard, M. (2014). Managing and sharing research data: A guide to good practice. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.
Her Majesty’s Government. (1990). Access to Health Records Act 1990.
Her Majesty’s Government. (1998). Data Protection Act 1998.
Her Majesty’s Government. (2011). Patient Rights (Scotland) Act 2011.
Kendall Regional Medical Center. (2016). Note of privacy practices.
Mantas, J., Househ, M. S., & Hasman, A. (2014). Integrating information technology and management for quality of care. Washington, DC: IOS Press.