Administrative ethics: Patient privacy

Find a current administrative issue in a newspaper, magazine, or journal article relating to
topics such as patient privacy, confidentiality, or HIPAA.
Write a 1,050- to 1,400-word paper that includes the following:
� Describe the issue and its impact on the population it affects most.
� What arguments or facts are used in the article to support the proposed solution?
� What are the ethical and legal issues reported for your administrative issue?
� Explain the managerial responsibilities related to administrative ethical issues. If none
were stated, what should have been done?
� Identify any proposed solutions.
� Be prepared to discuss your findings in class.
Include at least three sources in your paper.
Format your paper consistent with APA guidelines.

Administrative ethics: Patient privacy

The law recognizes and allows protection of patient privacy. Some information is private
to be kept away from third parties. Various researchers and health professionals have contributed
to this issue of patient privacy through various platforms. Some heath practitioners have failed to
safeguard private information of their patients leading to disagreements and lack of trust.
Therefore, it means that there is still a problem or a challenge when it comes to ensuring patient
privacy. This discussion therefore, is based on Strauss article about, “patient privacy-then and
An aspect of patient privacy is not a new thing in the healthy industry. For instance, the
Hippocratic Oath contained a verbiage about privacy, this oath excerpt read, “whatever I see or
hear in the lives of my patients, whether in connection with my professional practice or not,
which ought not to be spoken of outside, I will keep secret, as considering all such things to be
private” (Strauss, 2012). This statement illustrates the importance of safeguarding private
information about a patient. Medical practitioners are the ones obliged to ensure that they keep

such information as confidential as possible. Going against this is considered unethical in the
practice. Because of these rights, patient privacy has attracted close monitoring on its
compliance with Joint commission standards and the center for Medicaid and Medicare service.
The first health information privacy regulation was published in the year 2000 (Strauss, 2012). It
was a subtitle of Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) under Title II on
administrative simplification and was categorized into five components that include, security
rule, privacy rule, identifiers and electronic data interchange standards, which included codes set
and transactions. Every organization implemented this according to its own preference to
safeguard patient privacy.
Patient privacy is an issue that affects every human being. At one time people fall sick
and diagnosed with different diseases. They have the right to privacy of the information about
their diseases under the protected health information from outside people (Strauss, 2012). This
issue affects patients suffering from particular diseases such as HIV/AIDS. Such patients may
not allow their status to be exposed to third parties due to stigmatization. Measures needs to be
put in place to ensure that this problem is managed.
Various arguments and facts are advanced on how the aspect of patient privacy can be
supported and maintained. The most important step is to ensure that all the parties involved
oblige to the set standards and laws (Schonfeld et al. 2011). This is achieved by educating the
staff on the criminal liability on breaches of patient privacy and electronic security policies and
procedures and to safeguard on protection of health information. Other initiatives that would
enable this solution to be achieved is development of a risk assessment process, updating of
business associate agreements, work with colleagues to establish an interdisciplinary privacy
breach notification process and development of breach notification process for individuals.

Furthermore, this is achieved to ensure that anyone suspected of privacy violation is
reported immediately for action. This will ensure that such cases are resolved immediately to
ensure that they do not affect service delivery. Portfolio or a department to be headed by privacy
officer can also be set up to ensure that all issues that relate to patient privacy are well attended
to within the right time.
There are ethical and legal issues that concerns patient’s privacy. Medical practitioners
are guided by ethics in their rendering of service to the patients. It is not right for a medical
practitioner to disclose protected health information of a client to outsiders without the patients’
consent or knowledge (Strauss, 2012). This is not permitted under this right, as it is unethical
practice. There are special cases where information of a patient is required to be disclosed and
the medical practitioner has no authority to disclose the information if the situation or
circumstances is not special (Mold, 2012). For instance, in case of a condition that is likely to put
the lives of the public in danger, such as Ebola, it is important that it is disclosed to ensure that
measures are put in place to avoid spread. Legal issues also may arise in case, the medical
practitioners does not adhere to the rules and regulations of his work. It becomes a criminal
liability if medical practitioners disclose patient information out of malice and personal reasons.
Management has the responsibility of ensuring that ethical issues concerning the staff are
adhered to in their service delivery. In this article, management has a key role in ensuring that
staffs are well informed and trained on policies and procedure when performing their work
(Strauss, 2012). For instance, in the article management has the responsibility to ensure that all
cases of privacy violation are reported to the management and that the privacy officer ensures
that staffs are ethical as they render their services.

In order to ensure that this problem is solved, various actions or solutions can be adhered
to. One of this is to for the privacy office to work closely with colleagues with information data
processing expertise in internal audit to develop an access database from privacy office staff.
This will ensure that any violations are identified in real time. The staff members also require
counseling and good training on how they handle protected health information. Careless
handling of such information should be avoided to ensure that information does not land to
wrong individuals. Third is to have a robust privacy auditing and monitoring program where
there is routine audit aimed at assessing the appropriateness of electronic medical record process
(Mold, 2012). Sometimes this information in database may be interfered with and therefore, by
carrying out these routine audits, it helps to minimize such instances. Regular education of the
staff on health system on privacy auditing and monitoring programs and partnering with human
resources on issues to do with disciplinary procedures for those that violate privacy is another
possible solution to the problem.
In conclusion, patient privacy is an important aspect in healthcare and it is the duty of the
health practitioners to protect this information. They need to be ethical and appreciate the rights
to privacy in safeguarding there patient information. Management can do various things to
ensure that this is achieved such as introducing risk audits, setting up disciplinary process and
educating and counseling their staffs among many others.



Mold, A. (2012). Patients’ Rights and the National Health Service in Britain, 1960s-1980s,
American Journal of Public Health, 102(11):2030-2038.
Schonfeld, T et al. (2011). “You Don’t Know Me, But …”: Access to Patient Data and Subject
Recruitment in Human, American Journal of Bioethics, 11 ( 1):31-38.
Strauss, L. (2012). Patient Privacy — Then and Now, Journal of Health Care Compliance,