California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

    Patient Confidentiality Is Needed

    Confidentiality for patients in health care has been a discussion nationally. The debate is over the amount of protection afforded by laws, so as not to affect the quality of healthcare. Overall, there is a need for health care protection laws.

    The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, or HIPAA, was made to increase patient confidentiality in health care. The law makes it so a patient has to sign off and give consent to allow a doctor to share his information with other doctors or hospitals.

    This is a positive advancement in health care. It legally protects patients as well as doctors.

    The laws protect doctors and hospitals because it forces patients to give consent. By doing so, this helps lower the chances of being sued for sharing records. The laws do not apply to minors who cannot legally make decisions for themselves. Instead it is the judgement of the parent, guardian or caretaker.

    โ€œItโ€™s just a matter of that individualโ€™s preference on about who wants to know about their medical issues.ย  By law you have every right to get those medical records, cause their yours,โ€ head athletic trainer at California Lutheran University Kecia Davis said.

    The point is, HIPAA only gives the patient the right to their records. The law does not allow the doctors or hospitals to share that information freely.

    Protection of a patientโ€™s health records is important because someone may have a medical issue that may hurt his/her reputation.

    Some concerns that come with the HIPAA laws are that they are too strict and may risk or negatively impact the patientโ€™s healthcare.

    If there is no consent to transfer records to another doctor or hospital, then the care could fall short because someone might miss what they found before.ย  Also, family members that are concerned about a patient will not get the information they request, which can anger families.

    Patients can easily consent if they want to have his/her records transferred. The patient can send their records to another doctor or another hospital as long as they give them their permission to do so.

    Patients also have the control over who can visit them and who can recieve information about how they are doing. This gives the patient total power over who knows their business, which should be the case.

    Giving consent can be difficult to implement. This depends on the situation. Ifย  doctors or hospital staff are told certain family members cannot recieve information, by law they cannot release that health information to that family member. This can cause tension and/or problems.

    According to an article on Health Research Fundingโ€™s website titled, โ€œPros and cons of HIPPAA,โ€ some argue that these laws invite additional charges. Health care now needs to pay staff to manage and secure patient privacy.

    I donโ€™t think this is something to complain about. I would rather pay more money and secure my health files than not have any privacy at all.

    Consent rules might cause concerns for people but overall it is in the best interest for the patientsโ€™ and doctorsโ€™ protection of privacy.

    โ€œHIPAA laws are generally positive. Patients should have control over who views their medical information,โ€ said California Lutheran University Director of Health Services Kerri Lauchner.

    โ€œI think HIPAA plays a vital role in the security of patient health information and helps patients feel safe sharing information and disclosing personal health details,โ€ Cal Lutheran certified physician assistant Brandy Fall said.

    HIPAA helps protect doctors because it gives them a list of who can receive the information with written consent.ย  The consent protects the doctors from law suits.

    When it comes to patient confidentiality, HIPAA does a great job at protecting the rights of the patient. The law gives them the opportunity to decide where or to whom their medical records go.

    Jack Hoy