The Impact of Technology on Healthcare in the US


Healthcare systems worldwide are embracing technology to improve patient outcomes and safety and reduce overall healthcare costs. It has been accepted that US healthcare is costly while the outcomes are not highly predictable (Feldman et al., 2018). This led to the realization that to make healthcare outcomes predictable; there was a need to integrate technology like other industries. Since technology adoption in the healthcare sector over the last two decades, healthcare systems have significantly improved patients’ quality of life, increased provider capabilities, and saved more lives (Feldman et al., 2018). However, technology has brought new challenges to the healthcare system, such as digital risks, data integrity, malpractice, and training issues. This study aims to analyze the impact of technology on healthcare in the US using a case study. It will provide a general description of HIPAA policies and regulations, evaluate a scenario that involves HIPAA breaches, and look into the advantages and risks of technology in healthcare.

HIPPA, Healthcare Regulations, and Legal Guidelines

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) was developed in 1996 to safeguard patient information and other medical records (CDC, 2019). The main aim of HIPAA is to ensure excellent patient information conservation while embracing the flow of necessary information to facilitate high-quality healthcare while shielding the public. The HIPAA privacy rule inscribes how an individual’s health information can be used and disclosed regarding privacy rule.

Breaking HIPAA rules can attract severe penalties, depending on the severity of the breach. The four main penalties include; dealing with the employer internally, sanctions or expulsion from professional bodies, termination of the contract, and criminal charges. For civil penalties, the minimum penalty is $100 per violation, while the minimum penalty for criminal violation is $50,000 (CDC, 2019). This shows that data breach is very costly for healthcare providers.

One of HIPAA regulations is to ensure the integrity, confidentiality, and availability of electronic health information about patients. Additionally, HIPAA helps find out and protect electronic information against potential threats and ensures the security of the information. Finally, HIPAA helps to safeguard against prohibited disclosures and ensure that patient information only gets to the right hands (CDC, 2019). For instance, a healthcare provider cannot provide a patient’s health information to an employer or other third parties for marketing purposes without patient authorization.

Scenario Selected

This scenario involves a nurse who visited a local celebrity on a day off and made a Tik Tok video with him. Unknowingly, the local celebrity had previously been under the care of one of the nurse’s colleagues. Therefore, the nurse posted the video assuming nobody would recognize the local celebrity in the contact list. This led to a violation of HIPAA rules because the patient’s information was leaked to the media.

To avoid the data breach, the nurse should have limited the number of people who could view the Tik Tok video to ensure only permitted individuals have access to the video. This would provide privacy, and only people who meet specific criteria could access the video (Vanderpool, 2021). Before posting the video, the nurse should have asked for permission from the local celebrity because the information could cause harm to the individual. This could have ensured that the local celebrity knew the video details. Additionally, the nurse should have blurred the face and other recognizable things from the local artist to ensure that the identity of the local artist is hidden (Moore & Frye, 2019). Blurring is mostly used to hide the identity of a victim, and it’s mostly used in the media to show ape victims, confessions, or other types of investigations.

According to HIPAA rules, exposing a patient’s and any other identifiable health information without consent is wrong. However, since the breach had occurred, the first step the nurse should have taken is to notify the local celebrity by writing within sixty days following the breach (Moore & Frye, 2019). This notification should have included a brief definition of the breach, the extent of the breach, what the nurse is doing to investigate the breach, and what the local celebrity should do to protect himself from the breach. Additionally, the nurse should report the breach to the Secretary of breaches (Moore & Frye, 2019). This could be done through the official HHS website by filling out a form on the breach’s website.

The hospital also needs to have had a hand in mitigating the risk of the breach. To do this, they would have followed the following process. The first step was forming a cross-functional response team that would take to the violation and starts working on it (Vanderpool, 2021). The second step would be to identify and contain the breach where they would block all the sources that the video would continue spreading on, even if it includes the nurse’s Tik Tok. The next step would be to perform a risk and impact analysis to determine the sensitivity of the breach and the impact it may cause (Vanderpool, 2021). The hospital would then be required to manage the video, including notifying the affected nurses of the breach and how to contain it. The final step would be to re-evaluate and reflect on the situation. This includes conducting a training session to educate the nurses on data breaches and how to avoid such an incident in the future.

Advantages and Disadvantages of the Use of Technology in Healthcare


Technology has helped to reduce medication errors hence improving patient safety. According to a study by Bélisle-Pipon et al. (2021), implementing E-prescribing in hospitals helps reduce medication errors by 95%. The system allows physicians to enter details of patient medication orders in a computer or mobile device, which guides nurses in preventing human error in picking the drugs and preferred doses. This has, in turn, improved patient safety.

Technology has also enabled access to medical services in rural areas through telehealth. Technology has made it possible for patients to communicate with healthcare providers virtually, reducing medical expenses (Sittig et al., 2019). Telemedicine has facilitated the transmission of patient medical imaging, making healthcare more accessible and effective.


The main challenge of technology to healthcare is data security. The sharing of health information data through the internet exposed them to a threat of cyberattack. Sometimes data breaches may lead to cyber-attacks that demand hefty ransom in exchange for the data. These risks can have adverse consequences on patient information safety, including exposure of patients’ critical information, reducing patient safety, and increasing the cost of healthcare.

While telehealth is cost-friendly and enables healthcare to reach remote parts, it eliminates the human touch between healthcare providers and patients, especially aged patients. The use of technology can lead to a lack of connection between the healthcare provider and the patient (Sittig et al., 2019). This can lead to a lack of empathy and confusion in the treatment plans lowering the quality of care.

Conclusion and Recommendations

Technology has brought many advantages in healthcare, including improving patient safety and cutting the cost of care. However, one of the main risks facing technology and healthcare is data security. In this case, the information of a local celebrity was exposed, leading to a HIPAA breach. This breach may negatively affect the local celebrity and the nurse who exposed it. However there are ways of handling data breaches that can be used in such situations, but it is important to follow HIPAA rules to avoid such breaches because they can lead to costly penalties.


Bélisle-Pipon, J.-C., Couture, V., Roy, M.-C., Ganache, I., Goetghebeur, M., & Cohen, I. G. (2021). What makes artificial intelligence exceptional in health technology assessment? Frontiers in Artificial Intelligence, 4. Web.

CDC. (2019). Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) | CDC. Web.

Feldman, S. S., Buchalter, S., & Hayes, L. W. (2018). Health information technology in healthcare quality and patient safety: A literature review. JMIR Medical Informatics, 6(2), e10264. Web.

Moore, W., & Frye, S. A. (2019). A review of the HIPAA, Part 2: Limitations, Rights, Violations, and role for the Imaging Technologist. Journal of Nuclear Medicine Technology, 48(1), jnmt.119.227827. Web.

Sittig, D. F., Wright, A., Coiera, E., Magrabi, F., Ratwani, R., Bates, D. W., & Singh, H. (2019). Current challenges in health information technology-related patient safety. Health Informatics Journal, 26(1), 146045821881489. Web.

Vanderpool, D. (2021). Hipaa-should I will be worried? Innovations in Clinical Neuroscience, 9(11-12), 51–55. Web.

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