Healthcare Policy Development Paper
The health care industry has recognized the impact technology, in particular health information technology (IT) has on the delivery of quality medical goods, and services. In retrospect, health information technology has become a valuable method in improving all aspects of health care delivery. This technology have given both physicians and professional’s new ways to diagnose, treat, and care for patients. Technology of the sort has created innovative ways for physicians, and health care professionals to develop care plans that are tailored to each individual patient, thus providing better care plans. Since its arrival in the early 2000’s health information technology has taken on many different forms: electronic health records (EHRs), electronic medical records (EMRs), telehealth and telemedicine services, mobile technologies (tablets, laptops, smart phones, and etc.) which are used to connect patients and physicians, in an attempt to enhance medical care and treatment coordination (American College of Quality Management, 2010).Healthcare Policy Development Paper
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However, major concerns arise around physicians, professionals, and nurses excessively using personal smart phones/ cell phones while working. According to American Nurse Today 67% of hospitals in 2013 reported that their physicians and nurses use personal smart phones and cell phones to communicate and support their workflow (American Nurse Today , 2014). With that being said the primary concern with using personal smart phones and cell phones in the workplace, is legal and regulatory compliance. This suggests, that physicians, professionals, and nurses may possibly be violating federal and state laws (particularly, the Health Care Insurance Portability and Accountability Act), hospital security and privacy policies, and the American Nurses Association’s Code of Ethics. Distributing protected health information (PHI), in a method which is directly traced back to a exact patient (s), whether intentionally or accidentally can be extremely detrimental to both the employee and the organization (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2005). Healthcare Policy Development Paper Sending PHI has a variety of implications for all parties involved: employee, organization, and patient. For instance, the employee caught runs the risk of losing their job, financial penalties, jail time, and the revocation of their license. While the organization runs the risk of losing patients, because they cannot actively protect the patient’s health information. An organization that is rapidly losing patients will surely be in financial trouble and run the risk of closing. Finally, the patient and perhaps the most important party, runs the risk of having their personal information used (e.g. identify theft). In an effort to guarantee that they (physicians, professionals, and nurses) are not risking their jobs, they must ensure that their communications and workflow practices line up with appropriate laws, regulations, rules, policies, and even procedures. Outside of compliance with regulations and laws, smart phone and cell phone use has the ability to slow and stall production and productivity, as well as distract other employees. Using smart phones and cell phones in the workplace also affects the quality of care patients are receiving, and creates drops in effectiveness and safety. Furthermore smart phone and cell phone usage should be prohibited while working in a health care environment. This protects all those within a health care facility.
The following text establishes Inland Healthcare Groups (IHG) policies regarding smart phone use and relates to all employees. For the intent of this policy “smart phones” are characterized as a mobile device that has the capacity to accept and convey voice, text, or data messages without needing a standard wire connection (including but not limited to cell phones, tablets, small laptops, and etc.) (American Nurse Today , 2014). The organization has the ability to revise and adjust this policy.Healthcare Policy Development Paper
Usage of smart phones or related devices
Use at Work. During work hours staff members are required to use the same carefulness in using personal smart phones as they would the organizations phones. Extreme acceptance of private calls throughout the day has the ability to stall, production, productivity, and workflow as well as become a distraction to other staff members. Therefore, staff members should limit personal calls, texts, and etc. during their work time and in turn use personal phones at scheduled breaks and launch, in designated non-working areas. Staff members should certify that family and friends are aware of the policy. Furthermore the organization will not be accountable for any lost, or damaged personal cell phone (s) brought into the organization.
To maintain the efficiency and success of meetings employees are required to leave cell phones at their desks, or in designated areas. In case of an emergency or unexpected emergency that calls for immediate action, the smart/ cell phone maybe carried on your person, but must be on silent or airplane mode.Healthcare Policy Development Paper
Hazardous Working Conditions. The organization forbids the use of smart phones or related device (s) within any part of the work environment, in which the operation of such devices would be a distraction to the user, or cause interference among other workers, as well as creating an unsafe work environment.
Use While Operating Company Vehicles. An employee or staff member that uses a company vehicle is prohibited from using smart/ cell phones. This includes but is not limited to both receiving and placing calls, texting, surfing the World Wide Web, receiving or responding to emails, or checking phone messages. This involves business that is personal or organizational, while operating a company vehicle.
American College of Quality Management. (2010). Electronic Health Records Impact on Quality and Safety. In A. C. Management, American College of Quality Management: Theory and Practice (pp. 101-102). Sudbury, Massachutes: Jones and Bartlett Publisher.
American Nurse Today . (2014). Evolution or Revolution? Smart Phones in Nursing Practice . Retrieved from http://www.americannursetoday.com/evolution-revolution-smartphone-use-nursing-practice/: http://www.americannursetoday.com
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2005). Protected Health Information. Retrieved from www.hhs.gov/ocr/privacy/hipaa/understanding/training/udmn.pdf:www.hhs.gov
Healthcare Policy Development Paper