A Primer on the Privacy, Security, and Confidentiality of Electronic Health Records
sr-15-128-en.pdf — PDF document, 202 kB (207813 bytes)
Author(s): Kumar M, Wambugu S
The use of electronic health records (EHRs) is widespread in developed countries but is only gradually displacing the use of paper records. Advocates of health information technology promote EHRs, because they improve quality of care, reduce cost, enhance patient mobility, are more reliable, and enable evidence-based medicine. However, the transition from paper-based to EHR systems in low- and middle-income countries poses some unique challenges for privacy and confidentiality, security, and data integrity and availability that can outweigh the benefits.
All of these challenges become more pressing with the rapid uptake of Internet services to share and access health information. Threats to the integrity of health information systems and the data they contain are real. Cyber security is required to prevent, detect, and act on unauthorized access to a health system and its information. Therefore, ensuring privacy, security, confidentiality, integrity, and availability of protected health information (PHI) in EHRs is absolutely necessary.
With the growing need for healthcare providers to share and access health information across diverse and dispersed information systems and organizational boundaries, the interoperability of information systems has assumed greater significance for improved quality of care, efficiency, and patient safety.
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