Legal and Ethical Issues - Research Paper Example

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Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is designed to enable the researchers to obtain Protected Health Information in the course of their research. These researchers include those in medical and other health related disciplines. They require access to…
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Legal and Ethical Issues
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LEGAL AND ETHICAL ISSUES IN NURSING of Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is designed toenable the researchers to obtain Protected Health Information in the course of their research. These researchers include those in medical and other health related disciplines. They require access to certain information about heath that people may view as private and intend it to be confidential. The information is contained in disease registries, government archives of important medical records and other databases that contain hospital discharge records. The HIPAA rules are a response to public concern over potential abuses of the privacy of health information.
To understand how the HIPAA rules can be applied in the research process one needs to know them. They are also called privacy rules or rights and include:
Right to self-determination
Right to privacy & dignity
Right to anonymity & confidentiality
Right to fair treatment
Right to protection from discomfort & harm
One may refer to them as the code for ethical behavior during research. Ethics is a pause to wonder, to question, to step back, to notice. (Moules, 2006).
The rules permit covered entities such as hospitals, clinics and health care providers in general to release de-identified data without obtaining an authorization. There are no further restrictions upon use or disclosure because de-identified data is not personal health information and, therefore, not subject to the HIPAA rules. Therefore during a research study, a researcher can obtain the data required under this provision.
The right to anonymity and confidentiality is an important part of the rule. This rule can be applied during the study through involving the subject directly. Here, the researcher can apply the confidentiality clause during the study by letting the test subject decide on what to avail to the public. The rules contain criteria for the alteration of the authorization requirement by an IRB or another review body called a Privacy Board. This works well for a study in which one does not wish to follow all the tiresome steps.
The use of war victims in the recent past as test subjects without their consent or that of their families has led to a public outcry. Consequently, the rule on right to fair treatment and protection from harm was created. In the medical study one considers that the subjects are human and therefore avoids causing harm to them.
Macklin (2004) notes that there are a number of marginalized populations where the rules of ethical treatment and legal actions are not followed. Such include case studies of Ebola in Central Africa and other areas close by. The application of the HIPAA rules can be achieved through incorporation of the basic rules in the recent studies by creating a compiled set of ground rules to follow in the study process.
In conclusion, it is evident that a researcher can apply all the possible combination HIPAA rules by integrating them into the research queries to form part of the study.

Macklin, R. (2004). Double standards in medical research in developing countries. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
Moules, P. (2006). Nursing research: An introduction. Los Angeles: Sage Publications
University of South Florida. (2011). Research Integrity and Compliance [Data file]. Retrieved from Read More
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