Privacy and Confidentiality

Privacy and confidentiality are the most commonly voiced concerns to using EHRs primarily because not all parties involved have legal or ethical obligations to maintain patient privacy (Wynia & Dunn, 2010).
Information within EHRs is sensitive as it could result in a continuum of consequences - anywhere from embarrassment to loss of insurance or employment (Mercuri, 2010). The author also cautioned that this risk of a breach in confidentiality when utilizing electronic health records may result in patients not fully disclosing past medical information, or worse, avoiding medical care entirely.

Privacy is also threatened by the fact that information can be easily and rapidly copied, carried, and dispersed; additionally, access controls may be insufficient or absent (Myers, Frieden, Bhenwani, & Henning, 2008).
EHRs have a number of access points that are opportunities for hackers (Conklin & McLeod, 2010). They asserted that the number of people that have access to these records only increase vulnerability and proposed an issue when one organization has sufficient security controls, others that share the same information may not. They also debated the necessity of having measures in place for emergent situations, such as multiple system sign-on, as they can be security weaknesses.

Our animation demonstrated this concept when the nurse revealed the patient's past history of a sexually transmitted infection. The historical illness was not relevant to the care the nurse was providing at the time, and the patient was alarmed that the nurse had access to this information.