Trends in Privacy and Security in Healthcare Data

Privacy and security issues are some of the critical contemporary issues that are common in the healthcare. The need for security and privacy of health data have significantly increased. Many healthcare organizations have been forced to use secured electronic data storage systems in order to avoid privacy breach of the patients’ information. However, preventing data breaches without disruption of the efficiency in providing health care services still remains a challenge.

In order to ensure maximum data protection in the healthcare, various regulations have been implemented to direct on the use of the health data by various parties. The HIPAA regulation is one of the measures that have been put to improve security and privacy in the healthcare. This policy addresses the use and the disclosure of protected health information (Mercuri 27). It directs on the circumstances and process under which the medical providers or the clearing houses can disclose health information. The main aim of these measures is to ensure that people’s information is well protected as the data flows from one party to another to facilitate high quality health care services. In the United States, individuals are required to sign a form that asserts that the patient has received information on the use and disclosure of health information.

Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) is another regulation that has significantly contributed in improving security and privacy in the healthcare. This ACT has helped in promoting the effectiveness of HIPAA. For instance, it has increased the fines, enhanced is applicability and other enforcements that has significantly helped in improving on data security (Symantech par 6). In case individual’s information gets bleached, the organization responsible is mandated to inform the person within 60 days after the bleach takes place. However, this applies only when the information is unsecured. Otherwise, notification is not required if the information is encrypted (Dube, Shoniregun and Mtenzi 153).

HITECH Act also gives state attorneys the authority to bring civil suits in Federal District Court to any person who is found violating HIPAA (Symantech par 4). In other words, HITECH has critically emphasized on the implementation of the HIPAA by heightening its enforcement.

The adoption of electronic method in data records has raised a major concern on the security and privacy of such information. Electronically stored data can easily be accessed by unauthorized persons who lead to bleaching of privacy of the patients. It is therefore necessary for all health personnel to be vigilant while storing any information electronically.

Health personnel are supposed to use improved technology to prevent such bleaches. For instance, tracking and monitoring the users can help in blocking any suspicious requests that may be aimed at accessing personnel information or private medical information of other people. For example, journalists may attempt to access some confidential health information without authority. Through the electronic data storage system, it is easy to block such suspicious requests.

This discussion has clearly defined the regulations that have helped in improving privacy and data security in healthcare. The discussion has revealed that it is challenging to promote efficiency in healthcare services and achieve optimal security outcomes at the same time. However, these policies have significantly helped in improving privacy and security of health data. This has helped in reduction of medical identity theft and other inconveniencies in healthcare.


Dube, Kudakwashe, Shoniregun Charles, and Mtenzi Fredrick. Electronic-Healthcare Information Security. New York: Springer, 2010. Print

Mercuri, Rebecca. The HIPAA-potamus in Health Care Data Security. Communications of the ACM , Volume 47, (2004), Pages 25-28

Symantech. “Privacy and security for health care providers.” Symantec, 2009. Web.

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