Assignment - Introduction In the present times...

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Introduction: In the present times, state-of-the-art information and communication technologies have become virtually ubiquitous in every sector, be it healthcare or space technology. As more and more information technology solutions were adopted in the healthcare sector, medical and healthcare data started to swell at highly disproportionate rates. None the less, this explosion of data created avenues for highly comprehensive data mining to draw critical knowledge. When observed from a practical perspective, the fundamental objective of information technology use in the healthcare sector is efficient data management at a fraction of cost when compared to the traditional protocols of data handling. Information technology not just brings down costs but also significantly reduces human error and facilitates efficient sharing and dissemination of knowledge and information. Digitized healthcare data that can be accessed and shared with the click of a button will allow medical researchers and healthcare providers to analyze them efficiently and draw vital clinical and research inferences that were otherwise lying dormant and undiscovered. In order for researchers to gain valuable information from data it is critically important that the quality of data is optimal. If the quality of data is not ideal at the granular level, its significance diminishes greatly. With greater ease in excess of sensitive healthcare data the concerns regarding data privacy and integrity also increases manifold. In essence, the greater availability of healthcare data over the network can help the doctors in offering the most optimal care but if the patients’ donot have confidence on the healthcare providers, they may object to storing sensitive medical data. This will inadvertently put the patients at risk for receiving inadequate care. Furthermore, the healthcare providers will not have access to the comprehensive medical history of the patients and this can severely affect the treatment outcomes when the patients come back again after years for repeat consultations. Healthcare privacy and security regulations: In response to the concerns that were raised regarding the harm that can befall on patients when sensitive healthcare data is compromised, regulations such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act were enacted by the federal government in the year 1996. Under the provisions of safeguards such as HIPAA, patients and care receivers have legal options to ensure that the healthcare provider are under strict obligation to ensure the privacy and integrity of personally identifiable healthcare information. It is the responsibility of the healthcare data miners to ensure that no harm is brought to the patients whose data they are handling and all the necessary protocols are being followed with regards to data access, sharing and disclosure. It is also the primary responsibility of the data miners to acquaint themselves with all the facets of the relevant healthcare data protection acts such as the HIPAA [1].
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