Will privacy concerns increase the risk of medical errors?

Posted By Kinnard, Clayton & Beveridge || Feb 14, 2013

Medical information is highly personal and certainly no one else's business. This is why there are specific guidelines in place to try and protect a patient's medical history. However, with an increased push for even stricter privacy protections, some are starting to wonder if the threat of fines for breaching security could end up negatively impacting patients.

One doctor recently shared his opinion on the new privacy rules and the potential for fines between $100 and $1,000,000. His concern is that doctors will be too worried about privacy protocols, and therefore, not giving complete focus to their patients.

In this case, the doctor became concerned after reading an article in the American Medical News and attempting to decipher what the new rules could mean. From what he could tell, practices will be responsible for handling a risk assessment program. This program is meant to protect health data. This system must be continuously checked in order to make sure there are no breaches in security when it comes to medical information. This will include making sure others who handle the data, like shredding companies, are also careful with the health data.

Failing to comply with these stricter privacy rules could come with rather hefty fines.

The concern though is that doctors, especially those working at smaller practices, will be so worried about this new risk assessment program that their minds will not be solely focused on the patients they are seeing. If this is true, there is always the chance medical mistakes will be made, which could have very serious consequences for patients.

But what do you think? How important is protecting health data? Should this be up to the doctors, or should other staff be in charge? Should the level of medical care and privacy be the same?

Categories: Medical Malpractice
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