In order for organizations to receive the incentives offered through the HITECH legislation, they must be able to demonstrate that they are using the technology in meaningful ways. The following criteria for meaningful use must be evident to qualify for EHR incentives (U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, 2012). The technology must:
- Improve quality, safety, and efficiency, and reduce health disparities
- Engage patients and families
- Improve care coordination
- Improve population and public health
- Ensure adequate privacy and security protections for personal health information
For this Discussion you consider the impact of the meaningful use criteria of the HITECH legislation on the adoption of health information technology.
- Review the Learning Resources on the HITECH legislation and its primary goals.
- Reflect on the positive and negative impact this legislation has had on your organization or one with which you are familiar.
- Consider the incentives to encourage the use of EHRs. Focus on the definition of meaningful use and how it is measured.
- Reflect on how the incentives and meaningful use impact the quality of patient care.
- Find an article in the Walden Library dealing with one of the criteria to qualify for meaningful use and how it has been successfully met.
Post on or before Day 3 a description of how HITECH legislation has positively or negatively impacted your organization. Address how its related incentives influence the adoption of health information technology in health care and impact the quality of patient care. Provide a summary of the article you identified and explain how it demonstrates the ability of health information technology to meet the requirements of meaningful use.
Security of Health Care Records
With the increase of health information technology used to store and access patient information, the likelihood of security breaches has also risen. In fact, according to the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ):
In the United States, there was a whopping 97% increase in the number of health records breached from 2010 to 2011… The number of patient records accessed in each breach has also increased substantially, from 26,968 (in 2010) to 49,394 (in 2011). Since August 2009, when the US government regulated that any breach affecting more than 500 patients be publicly disclosed, a total of 385 breaches, involving more than 19 million records, have been reported to the Department of Health and Human Services.
A large portion of those breaches, 39%, occurred because of a lost, stolen, or otherwise compromised portable electronic device—a problem that will likely only get worse as iPads, smartphones, and other gadgets become more common in hospitals. (CMAJ, 2012, p. E215).
Consider your own experiences. Does your organization use portable electronic devices? What safeguards are in place to ensure the security of data and patient information? For this Discussion you consider ethical and security issues surrounding the protection of digital health information.
- Review the Learning Resources dealing with the security of digital health care information. Reflect on your own organization or one with which you are familiar, and think about how health information stored electronically is protected.
- Consider the nurse’s responsibility to ensure the protection of patient information. What strategies can you use?
- Reflect on ethical issues that are likely to arise with the increased access to newer, smaller, and more powerful technology tools.
- Consider strategies that can be implemented to ensure that the use of HIT contributes to an overall culture of safety.
Post on or before Day 3 an analysis of the nurse’s responsibility to protect patient information and the extent that HIT has made it easier or more difficult to protect patient privacy. Comment on any security or ethical issues related to the use of portable devices to store information. Assess the strategies your organization uses to safeguard patient information and how these promote a culture of safety. Describe an area where improvement is needed and one strategy that could address the situation.
In order to effectively manage their own health, individuals need to have competencies in two areas—basic literacy and basic health literacy. What is the difference? Basic literacy refers to the ability to read, even simple language. Health literacy is defined as, “the degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions” (National Coalition for Literacy, 2009). Unfortunately, according to a Department of Education report on health literacy, only 12% of adults aged 16 and older are considered to have a proficient level of health literacy (U.S. Department of Education, 2006). Acquiring health literacy skills has become more complicated with the explosion of online health information, some credible and some misleading.
In this Discussion, you focus on how to help individuals find credible information on the Internet and develop strategies nurses can use to increase the health literacy of their patients.
- Think about the nurse’s role in improving the health literacy of patients.
- Consider the many ways patients access health information, including blogs, social media, patient portals, websites, etc.
- Reflect on experiences you have had with patients who self-diagnose using online medical sources.
- Using the Internet, the Walden Library, or other trustworthy sources, identify a resource that you could introduce to patients to help them evaluate the credibility of health information found online.
- What are some strategies you could employ to improve the health literacy of patients?
Post on or before Day 3 your assessment of the nurse’s role in improving the health literacy of patients. Then, identify the resource you would recommend to patients for evaluating online health information and why it would be beneficial. Describe additional strategies for assisting patients in becoming informed consumers of online health information.