The importance of demonstrating ethical consideration toward patient data has risen considerably since the inclusion of electronic health records (EHR). Various clinical organizations utilize digital systems to store sensitive information, prompting the discussion of clientele confidentiality issues. This paper focuses on ascertaining the possible ethical concerns related to EHR use derived from contemporary literature and applying a critical approach to the article’s presentation of findings. As the utilization of ethics knowledge is a crucial complication in the current age, potential ethical concerns in the personal clinical setting will be discussed, and a reflection on the information gained will be offered.
The introduction of digital technology has significantly impacted health care, providing additional benefits for the quality of services. Currently, a majority of clinical institutions implement medical health systems, securing the possibility to store patient data in a digital environment. Given the demand for efficiency, digital information systems became an inseparable part of the medical institution’s organization. However, it is essential to highlight the significance of ethics in nursing informatics, as the neglect of moral concerns might lead to the development of numerous complications affecting patient safety. This work will explore ethical issues connected to implementing electronic health records (EHR) in a clinical setting, critically evaluate contemporary research, describe the current personal medical practice, and present a reflection on the subject.
Summarizing Four Peer-Reviewed Articles
Human technology interface, regarded as the technology components through which an individual interacts with digital systems, requires careful consideration given the negative consequences of its misuse. For instance, Issa et al. (2020) describe the major elements of sustaining patient safety in a clinical organization that ensure the protection of clientele data. According to the results, a majority of nursing personnel express vivid unease with the security of digital systems, which require administrative input, comprehensive training, and limited third-party access. Given these factors, irresponsible utilization of EHR prompts violation of patient confidentiality, severe misconduct that might originate disclosure of sensitive data.
Another pertinent contribution is offered by research on the patient-physician relationship and patient care. An investigation by Sulmasy et al. (2017) uncovers the modern approach to ethical complications evident in clinical personnel attitudes towards the inclusion of EHR, highlighting the most frequent perspectives. In their summaries, the authors exhibit the concerns expressed by physicians who use digital records daily, explaining how copy-and-paste features, unauthorized access, and limited patient knowledge might cause numerous threats to clientele privacy.
A substantial challenge for nursing workers is the necessity to avoid ethical misconduct. The study by Skyvell Nilsson et al. (2018) explores the attitudes of medical personnel in connection to electronic systems, disclosing the strategies that allow employees to decrease the possibility of unethical behavior. The analysis reveals that professional culture plays a significant role in the information safety approach, which varies considerably based on internal security rules and organizational values present in the clinical setting. By limiting patients’ access to their records, organizations create further moral challenges for the employees, who are unsure if allowing clientele permission to examine their data constitutes an ethical breach.
The requirement to employ EHR systems in most medical operations drastically impacts the nursing workforce’s attitudes towards the use of digital devices, potentially altering their attitudes. The research by Greer (2019) focuses on the influence exhibited by electronic resources on the decision-making processes of nursing students, investigating the benefits and risks of increased smartphone usage in the workplace. The data clarifies the issues regarding the violation of ethical conduct related to irresponsible use of clientele data, such as infringement of privacy rights and unauthorized sharing of patient knowledge through social media.
The presented studies significantly contributed to the scholarly exploration of ethical concerns in healthcare. The article by Issa et al. (2020) employs a significant number of information collection methods, both questionnaires, and focus groups, which upholds the reliability of the data. Furthermore, this mixed-methods approach ensures that the information received is diverse, thus covering a wide range of related effects. Nevertheless, the authors apply a convenience sampling strategy, diminishing the credibility of the sample. Additionally, as the authors use limited EHR software and label the study as exploratory, the data cannot be generalized to other social groups or digital systems.
As for the second research, the article perfectly summarizes current positions on the consequences of EHR use. Necessary resources and reliable empirical knowledge are included in the discussion, contributing to the creation of relevant and credible material. In addition to providing a thoughtful overview, the authors present their advice and possible resolutions to the issues mentioned (Sulmasy et al., 2017). However, as the study only employs theoretical insights, its validity reduces significantly.
Launching a study within the field of nursing requires assessing a wide range of professions that relate to this specialization. The exploration by Skyvell Nilsson et al. (2018) perfectly captures the needed scope of workers’ competencies, examining the attitudes of numerous nursing representatives. Unfortunately, Similar to the first article, only a particular brand all software was used during the investigation, limiting the potential generalization and the application of the findings.
The last article analyzed provides a unique insight into the issue of EHR knowledge. As contemporary approved questionnaires and a wide range of medical degrees participants are involved in the study, the results possess significant credibility (Greer, 2019). Moreover, the academic validity of the exploration is supported by the specificity regarding smartphone behaviors. Nonetheless, the frequent issue of sample heterogeneity is also evident in this investigation. Furthermore, as only a survey approach is utilized, it would be advantageous to implement additional research methods to diversify the data collection procedure.
Current Clinical Practice Related to Ethical Concerns
In my current medical setting, there are several issues connected to ethical behavior which should be addressed. First of all, the threats of authorized data availability are highly prominent in my institution, as a complex and busy clinical environment raises complications in maintaining patient privacy. The possibility of accessing sensitive clientele information by third parties is a pertinent ethical concern, often resulting in negative consequences. Such features as copy-and-paste, readily available log-in information and uncontrolled access establish the perfect environment for the emergence of unethical behavior. Maintaining confidentiality becomes a strenuous challenge under these circumstances, which prompt instances of violating the medical code of ethics.
After that, a lack of necessary training and education regarding EHR use is evident in the experience level of medical personnel. As the digital systems are used inefficiently or incorrectly, the quality of care after patient data and confidentiality is substantially reduced, and additional working time is spent on creating complications. The absence of additional courses that could enhance the nurses’ knowledge and alleviate the negative impact of ethical misconduct could greatly benefit the health care quality, providing the personnel with resources to confront potential liabilities. Therefore, as a majority of ethical complications are related to the absence of necessary training, it would be beneficial for my institution to establish nursing ethics and informatics courses, reducing the accounts of unethical behavior.
Finally, a distinct challenge is the employee attitude toward customer safety which remains neutral or non-supportive. Although ethics is a significant subject for any medical services worker, only a small number of employees reflect on the issues related to ethical concerns, while most of the personnel present a dismissive perspective. Given that a substantial number of workers disregard the notions of data protection, it is imperative for my institution to instill learning measures and educate the personnel on the negative ramifications of EHR data mismanagement. Providing necessary knowledge is only one element in securing the medical code of ethics; to establish an ethical environment, employee attitudes towards moral behavior should also be addressed.
A Personal Reflection on the Issues of EHR Utilization
In the light of the academic data evaluated and the observations gathered in the current clinical setting, I have developed a different perspective on the ethical knowledge connected to digital systems. I believe that it is essential to maintain a proper level of self-education to improve the necessary skills and obtain further information on ethical conduct, diminishing the possibility of ethical misconduct. In my future academic and professional endeavors, I plan to adhere to the medical code of ethics, sustaining a cautious attitude towards the privacy and confidentiality of patient data. Furthermore, I have learned that it is vital to establish an appropriate workplace mentality, relaying the pertinent knowledge to colleagues and discussing relevant dilemmas. It is possible that I will attempt to discuss these complications with my coworkers, potentially prompting them to reflect on this subject. I was also exceptionally impressed by the benefits of reduced screen usage, and I will attempt to distinguish between the working and personal hours, allocating specific times to individual issues and clinical responsibilities.
To conclude, the importance of maintaining ethical principles of conduct in medical care was explored in this paper, critically evaluating the current trends in clinical research. Both theoretical and empirical findings accentuate the employee responsibility regarding privacy and confidentiality, a core requirement for maintaining ethical behavior in patient care. Although there are several issues in the organization or implementation of scientific studies, these complications provide opportunities for further investigations. Moreover, the knowledge obtained will aid me in maintaining superior ethical conduct in my current medical practice, allowing me to directly implement the insights gained.
Greer, D. B. (2019). Exploring nursing students’ smartphone use in the clinical setting. MEDSURG Nursing, 28(2), 163–182. EBSCOhost.
Issa, W. B., Akour, I. A., Ibrahim, A., Almarzouqi, A., Abbas, S., Hisham, F., & Griffiths, J. (2020). Privacy, confidentiality, security, and patient safety concerns about electronic health records. International Nursing Review, 67(2), 218–230. Wiley. Web.
Skyvell Nilsson, M., Törner, M., & Pousette, A. (2018). Professional culture, information security, and healthcare quality—An interview study of physicians’ and nurses’ perspectives on value conflicts in the use of electronic medical records. Safety in Health, 4(1). Springer. Web.
Sulmasy, L. S., López, A. M., & Horwitch, C. A. (2017). Ethical implications of the electronic health record: In the service of the patient. Journal of General Internal Medicine, 32(8), 935–939. Springer. Web.