how do the principles of liability (negligence) influence the health information manager's role in protecting health information?
The protection of individuals’ sacred medical stories and a commitment to “safeguard[ing] the confidentiality of medical records” have long been fundamental roles of the health information management (HIM) professional, [ inherent in the HIM profession throughout its 80-year history. 1 As the first decade of the 21st century approaches its conclusion, HIM professionals continue to carry out the
responsibility of maintaining the privacy and security of patient information. However, this responsibility has become increasingly more challenging and, in fact, the role of the healthcare privacy and security professional has been likened to “standing on shifting sand.”2 As the healthcare industry continues its evolution through regulatory, technological, and program design changes, HIM professionals must redefine their role as stewards of the privacy and security of patient information. In fact, as articulated in the strategic plan of the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), “privacy and security of personal health information are cornerstones of HIM practice and critical elements for transition to electronic health information and information exchange.”3 This article discusses the HIM professional’s role in privacy and security both historically and in light of numerous evolutionary changes and the need to extend access to patient information for purposes beyond the realm of patient care.
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