HIPAA, Protected Health Information, and Requirements for Privacy and Confidentiality in EHRs

HIPAA, Protected Health Information, and Requirements for Privacy and Confidentiality in EHRs

HIPAA, Protected Health Information, and Requirements for Privacy and Confidentiality in EHRs

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) requirements on privacy and confidentiality mandates health organizations and providers to ensure that protected health information is not disclosed without a patient’s consent. Therefore, advanced registered nurses (ARNs) have both ethical and legal obligations to ensure that information on electronic health records (EHRs) systems is protected (Bani et al., 2020). An ethical issue related to the use of EHRs with direct effect on advanced registered nursing practice is seeking informed consent and respect for patient’s autonomy. This implies that nurses can only divulge PHI based on consent from their patients. The legal issue concerning this is the need for security and confidentiality to avoid potential legal ramification if PHI is disclosed by healthcare providers.


Emerging technologies in healthcare like telehealth and EHRs in patient care delivery are essential to optimal outcomes and enhance communication among providers. These technologies enhance workflow and sharing of PHI among experts for better diagnostic approaches and results. However, various incidents demonstrate that patient data can be compromised through hacking telehealth applications and other sources of information (McBride & Tietze, 2021). Such actions negate privacy and confidentiality requirements by HIPAA. Nurses and other healthcare providers can implement a raft of measures in their practice to protect privacy and confidentiality of patient information through security measures. The initial measure is to ensure that data is stored on secure systems to prevent any vulnerability that would allow hackers to access the information (Rouleau et al., 2017). Secondly, investing in several levels of security measures like passwords and having effective firewalls to prevent intrusion into the system. Ensuring that end users utilize the systems well by login out when not on the machine is essential. More fundamentally, training the staff on the effects of non-compliance to regulatory frameworks is also of essence to protect data.


Bani, I. W., Al Akour, I., Ibrahim, A., Almarzouqi, A., Abbas, S., Hisham, F., & Griffiths, J.

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(2020). Privacy, confidentiality, security and patient safety concerns about electronic

health records. International nursing review, 67(2), 218-230.DOI: 10.1111/inr.12585

McBride, S., & Tietze, M. (2021). Health Information Technology and Electronic Health

Records. In Nurses Contributions to Quality Health Outcomes (pp. 109-125). Springer, Cham.

Rouleau, G., Gagnon, M. P., Côté, J., Payne-Gagnon, J., Hudson, E., & Dubois, C. A. (2017).

Impact of information and communication technologies on nursing care: results of an overview of systematic reviews. Journal of medical Internet research, 19(4), e122.

DOI: 10.2196/jmir.6686

Review HIPAA, protected health information (PHI), and requirements for privacy and confidentiality in EHRs. Discuss one ethical and one legal issue related to the use of EHRs that directly impact advanced registered nursing practice. Consider the emerging role of the telehealth and the EHR in patient care delivery and compromise of patient data using telehealth applications and measures you can implement in your own practice to protect patient privacy and confidentiality.

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