New technologies have significant effects on almost every aspect of modern society including banking, communications, transportation, and healthcare. It should be noted that these technologies have more impact on healthcare than any other sector. New technologies such as electronic health records, also known as informatics, have significant impacts on patient privacy. Today, with electronic health records, patient data and information are stored in databases that can only be accessed by authorized persons such as physicians and the patients themselves eradicating privacy problems witnessed in the case of paper storage of patient information (Rouleau, Gagnon, & Côté, 2015). Also, the use of new technologies in healthcare contexts provides a mechanism where the patient directly provides critical information about themselves to clinicians. This contrasts ancient practices where patients had to communicate to doctors via nurses or other persons in the healthcare setting about their problems exposing the patients to numerous privacy problems. Moreover, with new technologies, patients can share critical information with family and close friends without involving physicians, and this highlights the role of the technologies in ensuring patient privacy.
While health informatics enhances patient privacy, they can have adverse impacts on healthcare operations. First, they are known to interfere with doctor-patient relationships (Snyder et al., 2011). Often, patients use health informatics to provide critical information about themselves to clinicians with these occurring without the physician’s physical presence. At times, the doctor’s physical presence is crucial to his or her relationship with the patient, a perspective that is jeopardized with the use of health informatics. Besides, health informatics can result in dehumanization with clinicians prioritizing patients of high socioeconomic status with the ability to pay for costs accompanying the use of health informatics while ignoring those of low socioeconomic status (Snyder et al., 2011).
Rouleau, G., Gagnon, M. P., & Côté, J. (2015). Impacts of information and communication technologies on nursing care: an overview of systematic reviews (protocol). Systematic reviews, 4(1), 75. Retrieved January 16, 2018, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4449960/
Snyder, C. F., Wu, A. W., Miller, R. S., Jensen, R. E., Bantug, E. T., & Wolff, A. C. (2011). The role of informatics in promoting patient-centered care. Cancer journal (Sudbury, Mass.), 17(4), 211. Retrieved January 16, 2018, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3146983/