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Understanding Causes of Patient Privacy Loss in EHRs and Health IT Systems

February 22, 2022 - Parul Saini, Webmedy Team

As more developing countries adopt electronic health records (EHR), this trend is set to continue. Health care is in dire need of this initiative since it increases quality while being cost-effective. Since technologies can introduce some risks, the safety of information in the system is a real concern. There have been recent security breaches that have raised questions about the system.

Although its use is increasing and enthusiasm for adoption is also increasing, there is less attention paid to the ethical concerns it might raise. Encrypting EHR passwords is a viable option for securing it.

We will discuss various causes of digital patient privacy loss in EHRs and other health IT systems and the possible solutions to them in this blog.

Causes of Patient Privacy Loss in EHRs and Health IT Systems

  • Most Patients don't understand the concept of Digital Privacy

    Digital is a "cyber world" and not easy to picture so patients believe their data and privacy is protected when they may not be. The digital health IT world of today is like walking into a patient's room in a hospital in which it's a large shared space with no curtains, no walls, no doors, etc. (even for bathrooms or showers!). In this imaginary universe, each private discussion happens with the goal that others can hear it, all methods are acted before others, and so forth without the patient's assent and their protests don't much make any difference. It is likely that if patients can imagine that scenario, they would have some idea of how digital privacy today is conducted - a big shared room where everyone watches and listens, regardless of what the patients think.

  • It's less Expensive to Create Non-Privacy-Aware IT Solutions

    Since creating privacy into software from the beginning is difficult and requires expensive security resources, we frequently see developers wait until the end to consider privacy. It isn't possible to add privacy on top of an existing system like it is to add security - either it is built into the system or it won't work. Since leaving it out is more economical than putting it in, it's often left out.

    As designers, architects, and engineers talk the talk but it is difficult to walk the walk when it comes to privacy due to the difficulties of creating viable systems within a coordinated, integrated digital ecosystem. Because digital privacy is so difficult to define, even in simple single enterprise systems, the difficulty in defining it across multiple integrated systems explains many poor privacy implementations in modern systems.

  • Patients don't Request Privacy from their Providers

    As far as we are concerned, all patients should be given access to their health data securely. Yet, it's rare for patients to choose doctors, health systems, or other care providers based on how they view privacy. Although patients usually switch providers even when privacy violations are found and punished, they will rarely switch providers afterward.


An effective EHR system will require the expertise of physicians, technologists, ethicists, administrative staff, and patients. EMRs have many benefits, but their risks must also be recognized and addressed appropriately. Multiple techniques are available to reduce risks and overcome barriers in the implementation of digital health records. Functionalities of EHRs need to be more suitable to improve the pleasant, safety, performance, and effectiveness of health care and health care transport systems. Computerized patient protection is significant however there are numerous legitimate justifications for why security is either hard or difficult to accomplish in the present climate.

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