Influence of Ethics on Information Technology Essay
Ethical conduct is among the most critical aspects affecting professionalism, effectiveness, and proficiency of nurses especially in the modern world where the health sector has integrated information technology. The potential difficulty is evoked by the incapability of nurses to when using information systems bearing in mind that such systems have raised profound ethical issues in the past (Simpson, 2005). The purpose of this paper is to discuss the influence of ethical and legal issues on the usage of information technology in health practices.
Importance of Ethical, Regulatory, and Legal Issues
In essence, it was previously stated that ethics is one of the most important aspects that affect the effectiveness of nurses, especially when using information systems. In this regard, it is evident that information systems are mostly used in receiving, processing, and storing information about patients who seek health care facilities. Additionally, the accessibility of this information to various personnel, departments, and sectors of the institution must be regulated in order to avoid manipulation and inappropriate use of data. This requires the nurses to behave ethically to ensure that information is available to the right people only. Although this might look discriminative, it is common knowledge that the management should not allow all people to access critical information about the patients. Consequently, ethics is critically important when handling this accessibility of information.
Additionally, information systems are integrated with other functionalities such as internet connection. These additional functionalities evoke critical ethical issues in regard to how they use the systems. For example, a nurse who has access to these systems could be tempted to access social networking websites during the time scheduled for other activities. This leads to wastage of precious time which could otherwise be used in other activities. In this case, ethics plays an important role in guiding the employees on what they should do when they are at work. Additionally, regulations control the conduct of the nurses in order to ensure that they act in accordance with their institutional roles rather than personal interests.
Ethical Issues Related to Usage of Information Systems
The most that is conjoined to the usage of information systems is maintenance of confidentiality. In this regard, the nurses are expected to keep patients information as confidential as possible bearing in mind that the patients need complete privacy (Lewenson & Londrigan, 2008). The use of information systems does not change this mandate of the nurses. As a result, it should not be compromised by the use of these systems.
In addition, accountability is probably the second most important ethical issue which is related to the use of information systems. Medical practitioners must remain accountable for the availability and usage of any information which is stored in these systems. As a result, they must ensure that they share the information with the right people who have the audacity and institutional mandate to use it. This conduct ensures that accountability is upheld and maintained in regard to how information is handled.
Legislation and Information Systems
Expectedly, legislation mostly affects the two ethical issues that are elaborated in the previous paragraph which include confidentiality and accountability. First, legislations regulate the manner in which rights of accessing information are granted. In this case, information should only be accessed by selected personnel while others are denied that right. The regulations advocate hierarchical assignment of the right to increase the confidentiality of information when using the systems. This implies that when health institutions are adopting information systems, they must of allowing access to information.
Second, regulations hold the people, who are granted various rights of accessing information, accountable for any inconveniences which could happen in line with their duties. It provides the guidelines in regard to how they are expected to handle information and the consequences incurred when rights are misused. This maintains a high level of accountability and transparency (Hebda & Czar, 2009).
Impacts of HIPAA Legislation
Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act were stipulated by Congress in 1996 to focus on of health provision (Clark, 2007). Since the act was enacted, it has impacted profoundly on the life of veterans and the usage of information systems. In this regard, Clark suggested that the regulations allow veterans to after they retire. This has helped millions of American retirees to live a secure life where insurance contracts remain effective after losing a job or retiring.
In regard to the information systems usage, the act has a provision that addresses fraud and abuse of various rights. In this case, it states that investigations should be conducted to determine frauds that take place when sharing and using information. Further, it welcomes any person who has evidence concerning such frauds to report perpetrators for investigations.