Subject 1: How Managers Can Assure Privacy and Security of Patient Information
In coordinating staff members, hospital managers can assure the privacy and security of patient information through constant communication and monitoring. This involves coordinating their actions and performance while complying, implementing and enforcing security and privacy procedures and policies. In addition, they should constantly remind their members of staff about the significance of securing patients information to both medical practice and patients. This can be done by implementing security and privacy requirements as well as HIPAA and other state laws. Apart from that, members of staff should be given formal training about breach notification (Haak, 2006).
In dealing with outsiders around the manager’s office or facility, hospital managers can assure the privacy and security of patient information through the promotion of a culture that protects patients’ privacy. This is where a general atmosphere that is protective of patients’ privacy is created in the manager’s office and the entire hospital setting (Haak, 2006).
Hospital managers can assure privacy and security of patient information from threats posed by computer hackers through encrypting hospital data. This can be done in line with HIPAA and other state law regulations to avoid falling prey to security breaches. Apart from that, any patient’s information that is likely to be transferred over the internet should be encrypted. This enables the hospital’s security system to detect and respond to multifaceted cyber-attacks (Ohno, 2007).
Subject 2: Healthcare Budget
The most surprising part of this article is that while in 2011 the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) allocated $2.4 billion to Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) veterans’ health, some of them were not aware. As much as this represented a 24% increase from 2009 of the over 1.2 million eligible OCO veterans, only 52% had made use of this facility in 2011 (Menezes, 2009). Surprisingly, this was done only once in 2011. Even though the number of veterans who have been making use of this service has increased over the years, not all of them seek medical care. For instance, by 2010, over 600,000 veterans had used this service yet 200, 000 of this group did not do so for medical reasons. There is a need for a thorough audit to account for these funds since it seems the targeted beneficiaries are not using it as originally envisaged (Jadick, 2007).
If given the position of the manager in charge of the VHA, I would have made a flexible budget to ensure strict utilization and accountability for every penny. This will be my focus because reports on the ground indicate case of misappropriation of VHA funds. Statistics show that while the VHA allocated $2.4 billion in 2011 for OCO veterans to use in funding their medical bills and other health issues, only 52% happened to use this special fund. Apart from that, while it is reported that only 625, 000 veterans used this service, it was supposed to cater for 1.3 million of them in 2010. However, only 400,000 of this cohort still seek medical care. If a thorough audit is made, VHA fund will not be embezzled and all OCO veterans will benefit from this funding (Christensen, 2009).
Subject 3: Environmental Disparities
Amongst the dangers that individuals endure in their attempt to live in a safe environment is the exposure to various environmental hazards. This includes exposure to flowing sewage, dirty water, environmental contaminants, safety issues, disease-carrying pests, and polluted air (Zartarian, 2010).
In an effort to curb these dangers, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is already carrying out research to support community founded collective risk assessments. It is also creating tools to communicate the findings of this research to the public. The Community-Focused Exposure and Risk Screening Tool (C-FERST) is amongst those tools being developed by EPA. It is being developed as a community assessment, mapping, and information access tool to facilitate communities’ decision-making processes. EPA scientists are already working together with various federal agencies to devise and analyze C-FERST. Their research responds to the National Academy of Sciences recommendations as well as requisites from communities and APA regional offices (Zartarian, 2010).
The people who are exposed to environmental contaminants, safety issues, and disease-carrying pests are members of various communities as well as individuals in the entire public. Therefore, C-FERST is projected to sustain communities that seek to point out and prioritize fundamental environmental stressors. This tool will be populated and refined over time with extra information to the community on their environmental issues. C-FERST’s future versions are likely to integrate extra research and features including research on non-chemical stressors, continuous human exposure to science, cumulative risk guidance, incorporation to ecological research, capacity for full cumulative risk ranking, as well as health impact evaluations of the communities (National Research Council, 2009).
Subject 4: Organ Transplant
In order to obtain enough organs to be transplanted into needy patients, laws should be passed which allow organs to be obtained from persons. This includes people who have died without the prior permission of the patient or any permission of the family. This stems from the fact that the procedure involved in obtaining written permission from family members or their dead relatives could act as a barrier to helping needy patients. This is because they may be asked to part with some money. Apart from that, it is not feasible to get written permission from a dead person which could further complicate the case. France is amongst 15 countries that are already doing well in saving the lives of their needy citizens. This is because, in these countries, a dead person is presumed to be a donor except if he prohibits in writing the donation of his body organs to a national agency (Journey Man Pictures, 2007).
The fears of bad publicity and lawsuits have made surgeons not to accept donations from dead patients without written approval of the process. This is in spite of the dead person’s relatives consenting to the donation process. The issue of signing donor cards should be abolished to save needy patients. This is because young people whose organs are believed to be healthy tend not to think about death. In the event of their deaths, their organs are not used because of lack of their prior authentication. Because of such rigid laws, more donated organs are coming from live people than from cadavers (Associated Press, 2008).
In addition to this, several ethical concerns have made patients fear to get heart transplants and even potential donors have since given it a second thought. For instance, some surgeons do it for the sake of publicity while ignoring important issues such as how the body would react to the transplant. Most of the early heart transplants were unsuccessful because the patients’ immune systems rejected the organs. Apart from that, surgeons started to limit people from living due to induced brain deaths in a bid to transplant their hearts into other people. Most Americans have become reluctant in signing organ transplant cards for the fear of being declared dead when they are still breathing (Associated Press, 2008).
Associated Press (October 8, 2008).German doing well after double arm transplant
Christensen Eric, (2009). Economic Impact on Caregivers of the Seriously Wounded, Ill, and Injured Alexandria, Va.: CNA Corporation, 23, 3-7.
Haak A., (2006). Data security and protection in cross-institutional electronic patient records. International Journal of Medical Informatics 70, 117-/13.
Jadick Richard, (2007). On Call in Hell: A Doctor’s Iraq War Story New York: NAL Caliber.12, 34-45.
Journey Man Pictures (November 1, 2007) Kidney sales in India: Driven by poverty and unscrupulous doctors. Web.
Menezes A. J., (2009). Vanstone, Handbook of applied cryptography, CRC Press, 23, 678-789.
National Research Council (2009). Science and Decisions: Advancing Risk Assessment, Washington, DC: National Academy of Sciences Press, Chapter 7 and elsewhere.
Ohno Lucila, (2007). Protecting patient privacy by quantifiable control of disclosures in disseminated databases. International Journal of Medical Informatics 73, 599-606.
Zartarian V., and Schultz B. (2010). The EPA human exposure research program for assessing cumulative risks in communities Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology. 20, 351-358.
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