Full-blown Digitalization of Patient Information
The policy agreed upon is the full digitalization of patient information. Many healthcare institutions have developed partial EHRs to compute some patient information (Adler-Milstein et al., 2017). When patients register for care in the department, they will automatically be assigned a computer-generated Health Index Number (HIN) that would henceforth be used as an identifier in place of name and address as a way of codifying the patient details. The patient is then only required to share information essential for the provision of effective care.
The information collected by the healthcare workers is promptly registered in the patients’ portals in the EHR. As such the information is only accessed by relevant caregivers at appropriate times to avoid leeway that may build up to situations where the information ends up in the wrong hands.
Since patients entrust the department with personal information, the staff should be committed to ensuring they handle the information with respect and dignity. As such, no member is allowed to share the information inscribed in the portal with another individual at any point.
When one needs to obtain the information for a medical-related purpose, they should log into the EHR and acquire it in a system regulated and overseen by the lead IT expert (Dhillon-Chattha, McCorkle & Borycki, 2018). Only members of the staff actively involved with care have access to the patient information section of the EHR.
In case the patient’s information is to be used for the benefit of society, for example, in health surveillance or research, the HIN ensures anonymity and this is revealed to the patients before being required to give the information.
Any staff member found in violation of the Information sharing protocol is liable for sanctions that will be determined during a hearing by the disciplinary committee. As such the department is fully committed to safeguarding patients’ personal health information in compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act that requires the health industry to ensure security, privacy and confidentiality of patient information (Drolet et al., 2017).
The above protocol, therefore, sets out with clarity the consensus statement adopted by the department christening the organizational mechanism of handling patient information.
The senior physician acts as the overall team leader and guides the team in forming a consensus to come up with the departmental policy.
Being one of the most fundamental professionals in the department, the impact of the policy on their work is irrefutable as they handle most delicate patient information to design special care for respective patients in the unit.
The nurse manager represents the first line of caregivers in the units as the nurses continuously interact with the patients thereby handle critical patient information that has to be maintained securely and confidentially.
The informaticists are at the core of implementing a digitally related policy as they have an accurate insight of both digital and care concepts which are harnessed to come up with the most favorable way of protecting the information on the Electronic Health Records.
Departmental IT expert
Being that the information is stored digitally, the expertise of an IT expert is needed to conceptualize an airtight system that would lead to the protection of sensitive patient information.
This last representation in the policy team covers the most impacted section by the policy. The patients are the beneficiary of the protection initiative therefore they need to oversee the process of designing the policy to demonstrate transparency, therefore, improving clients’ confidence in the department’s efforts towards securing patient information.
Security and Safety Process
Progressive risk assessment
The EHR system will be subjected to a security risk assessment after every six months to ensure all lags that may compromise the safety of information are eliminated. Through the assessment, the software would also be updated to enhance the security tools thus offering protection to the patient information.
The patient information stored in the system will be under tight encryption to ensure only certified healthcare workers access the information by use of passwords.
The access level to different types of information would be guided by clearance levels which are assigned based on the magnitude of involvement in patient care. Moreover, the server used would be cloud-based to ensure only the users can access the information.
Authentication of users
The authentication of the system would use the healthcare worker’s identification number as the log in detail coupled with passwords to complicate the possibility of malicious access.
Use of role-based access system.
Using the clearance level access system, the EHR would be configured such that patient information is partitioned based on associated use. As such different professionals can access only relevant information useful to care delivery.
Access by mobile devices
The EHR system is designed to prohibit the storage of information on end-user devices such as personal computers and mobile phones. As such any attempt to duplicate the information in the system into personal devices is immediately thwarted.
Modification of Policy for Local Use
The policy mainly targets the physicians, nurses and RTs who are involved in care in the department. Since the full-blown use of technology requires technical knowledge, a training program would precede the implementation of the policy.
The physicians may still need to inscribe extra details outside the EHR system and communicate other information such as medical prescriptions directly to the nurses. The policy would be implemented procedurally to allow the staff to adapt to the new organizational policy.
One bias that is prone to be encountered is the entrenchment of workers with little digital knowledge and the recruitment of more technologically qualified individuals (Pritlove et al., 2019). The complex digital system is prone to discriminate against less technologically advanced individuals who may possess better medical competence as they would occasionally unconsciously show non-compliance to the policy and therefore singled out for sanctions.
Communicating Changes to the Department
Since the policy team draws from different professionals in the department, the staff would feel represented in the conceptualization of the policy. The communication would firstly take place through memos with a departmental workshop incepted to fully inform the staff of the implementation strategy.
A departmental training program would then follow to orientate the members on the wholesome adoption of EHR to ensure the protection of patient details. Moreover, positive reinforcements would be used to inspire compliance with the policy as more aligned workers would be awarded bonuses in the initial implementation stage.
Evaluation of Policy
Short term evaluation
The first benchmark within three months would be the full plan inception of EHR where patient information will be relayed in the secure portal. Secondly, the staff’s ease in using the fully digital platform will also be used to evaluate the implementation where a survey will be conducted within the staff to assess the difficulties encountered and the possible solutions that can be adopted to streamline the system.
Long term evaluation
The parameter checked in the long run is the department’s adherence to HIPPA policy through the establishment of a fully secure digital platform. This is because the ultimate goal of the policy is to develop an organizational culture that appreciates patients’ confidentiality therefore within a year of implementation the department should exhibit noticeable strides in terms of patient information security.
Adler-Milstein, J., Holmgren, A. J., Kralovec, P., Worzala, C., Searcy, T., & Patel, V. (2017). Electronic health record adoption in US hospitals: the emergence of a digital “advanced use” divide. Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, 24(6), 1142-1148. https://doi.org/10.1093/jamia/ocx080
Dhillon-Chattha, P., McCorkle, R., & Borycki, E. (2018). An evidence-based tool for safe configuration of electronic health records: The eSafety checklist. Applied Clinical Informatics, 9(04), 817-830. https://doi.org/10.1055/s-0038-1675210
Drolet, B. C., Marwaha, J. S., Hyatt, B., Blazar, P. E., & Lifchez, S. D. (2017). Electronic communication of protected health information: privacy, security, and HIPAA compliance. The Journal Of Hand Surgery, 42(6), 411-416. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhsa.2017.03.023
Pritlove, C., Juando-Prats, C., Ala-Leppilampi, K., & Parsons, J. A. (2019). The good, the bad, and the ugly of implicit bias. The Lancet, 393(10171), 502-504. https://doi.org/10.1016/s0140-6736(18)32267-0