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Privacy, Security, and Confidentiality of Protected Health Information (PHI)

Privacy, Security, and Confidentiality of Protected Health Information (PHI)

Privacy, Security, and Confidentiality of Protected Health Information (PHI)
Health information that is secure (PHI)

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) establishes guidelines for the use of smartphones and social media in healthcare settings. As a result, healthcare practitioners must be aware of these regulations. The HIPAA defines Protected Health Information very clearly (PHI). According to Yang and Garibaldi (2015), “protected health information” is “health data created, received, stored, or transmitted by HIPAA-covered entities and their business associates concerning the provision of healthcare operations and payment for healthcare services.” The HIPAA defines PHI as any current, future, or past information about a patient that is stored, transmitted, or maintained in electronic media ( Spector & Kappel, 2012).


Thus, HIPAA has a number of regulations aimed at protecting patients and ensuring that PHI is not only protected but also not breached. As a result, the HIPAA body specifies laws that govern hospital administration in relation to HIPAA. Administrative measures must be put in place to ensure that patient data is correct and accessible to authorized parties. Furthermore, HIPAA regulations require physical safeguards to prevent physical theft and loss of devices containing electronic PHI. Finally, HIPAA requires hospitals to have technology-related measures in place to protect their networks and devices from data breaches and unauthorized access. Furthermore, all parties in the hospital must understand privacy issues and must avoid violating them at all costs (Ventola, 2014).

Confidentiality, security, and privacy

The term privacy refers to a patient’s right to decide how personal information should be used or shared within the hospital. Patients have the right to make decisions about their own lives. Unless there are other circumstances highlighted under HIPAA state privacy rules that overrule the patients’ privacy rights, patients have the right to dictate how physicians should use their information. A physician, for example, cannot reveal a patient’s data on a specific disease to a spouse or family member without the patient’s consent. On the other hand, confidentiality is the obligation of physicians to keep and protect the patient’s data. The physician has a moral obligation to ensure that the information he or she has about specific patients is not only protected, but also safe and that it is only used for the right reasons and by the right people (Ventola, 2014). In this context, security refers to the measures taken to safeguard patient information. It may imply administrative measures such as physical safeguards, technology-based projects, and issues such as passwords and codes to ensure the safety of patients’ data.

The role and significance of an interdisciplinary team in informatics


A hospital is a place where people from various disciplines work together to achieve a common goal. In this regard, there is a need for all disciplines to collaborate in order to protect patient data. It means that all professionals involved must guide one another, report data misuse, and collaborate to ensure that ethical behaviors regarding smartphone use, data sharing, and social media use are observed in situations where they are required. Interdisciplinary collaboration to protect data improves patient safety, quality care, and ethical practice, resulting in fewer legal issues in hospitals ( Spector & Kappel, 2012). As the interpersonal teamwork together, it is important to understand that staff may have their licenses revoked due to a HIPAA violation. For example, fifty nurses were fired from Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago for violating HIPAA ( Wofford, 2019). The nursing practitioners join the other 200 employees who have faced serious consequences as a result of this incident.

Furthermore, they must understand that there are sanctions in place in various healthcare institutions for those who are careless with patient information. Most hospitals’ staff are either fired, punished, or have their licenses revoked by the relevant board. Additionally, the team must ensure that they understand the penalties. “The penalties for noncompliance are determined by the degree of negligence and can range from $100 to $50,000 per violation (or per record), with a maximum penalty of $1.5 million per year for violations of an identical provision” ( Spector & Kappel, 2012).

Implementation of evidence-based PHI protection strategies

A risk assessment survey is one of the evidence-based strategies used by most hospitals to reduce privacy, confidentiality, and security concerns associated with social media use. Others monitor the devices and keep records, which they use to educate employees about HIPAA.


Privacy, Security, and Confidentiality of Protected Health Information (PHI)

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