What are the ethical and legal implications of the use of personal devices?

Week 7 Discussion: Use of Personal Communication Devices in Patient Care Settings

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This week’s graded discussion topic relates to the following Course Outcome (CO).

CO6 Discuss the principles of data integrity, professional ethics, and legal requirements related to data security, regulatory requirements, confidentiality, and client’s right to privacy. (PO 6)

Answer post

Two replies to classmates and/or instructor
Discussions are designed to promote dialogue between faculty and students, and students and their peers. In discussions students:
Demonstrate understanding of concepts for the week
Integrate scholarly resources
Engage in meaningful dialogue with classmates
Express opinions clearly and logically, in a professional manner
Use the rubric on this page as you compose your answers.

Discussion Question

This week, we will discuss personal communication devices and their use in healthcare. As we focus on this topic, please address the questions below in the discussion.

How can the use of the nurse’s personal communication device(s) impact patient care positively and/or negatively?
What are the ethical and legal implications of the use of personal devices?
What does the professional literature say about how communication devices can support safe nursing practice?

Informatics is the management of health information. In professional nursing, informatics plays a critical role in how nurses access, enter, manage, and store key knowledge essential for professional practice and client care (Hood, pg. 354, 2018). Nurses use informatics to manage, interpret, and communicate information gathered about the patients. In nursing practice, informatics can be used to improve documentation. Documentation of health records is part of nursing practice, and nurses can use informatics to ensure health records are documented in a way they are easy to retrieve at the same time, not forgetting to uphold confidentiality (Sensmeier, 2017).

Nurses can use informatics to reduce medical errors by making sure the information communicated to colleagues is accurate. Nurses are at the frontlines of offering healthcare services to patients, and they have more information about patients than other health professionals. For effective clinical practice, nurses must know how to use computers and manage enormous volumes of information (Hood, pg. 358, 2018). The sharing of accurate information helps reduce medical errors because each profession dealing with a patient has adequate information about the patient. Communicating the right information to patients also ensures they have the correct instructions to adhere to. Informatics can also be used to improve coordination of care. Interdisciplinary teams taking care of patients need to coordinate to improve patient care, and they can effectively coordinate if patients’ information is shared accurately. Nurses can also use the available information to educate patients and to inform physicians of the patient’s condition, which promotes coordination between the patients and physicians (Sensmeier, 2017).

Data breaches may occur while nurses use informatics in their practice as some of the information may be leaked to third parties. Ethical issues that may arise could be some healthcare workers assessing information of patients that are not under their care. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) mandates confidentiality of client medical records and certain information shared with insurance companies, physicians, hospitals, and other health care providers. HIPAA requires health care organizations to offer education about private health information (PHI) to all employees and that employees review PHI policies annually. Computer screens, fax machines, and even boards containing client names are placed in locations accessible only to health care providers. All e-mail messages containing PHI must be encrypted (Hood, pg. 373, 2018). Patients’ health information should be kept confidential and should not be shared with third parties unless necessary. When managing health information, nurses cannot guarantee 100% protection of all information because they are too many records to deal with. Some of the files may be left on the desk, and others may get information from the file. Documentation of health information helps healthcare professionals easily retrieve patients’ information, and that can be an advantage to someone seeking to steal information (Dineen, 2017). Although telecommunication has greatly improved over the years, no connection offers complete security and information can be lost in cyberspace, or “broken into” by computer hackers” (Hood, pg. 373, 2018).


Dineen, K. K. (2017). Ethical Issues. Critical Care Nursing-E-Book: Diagnosis and Management, 12.

Hood, L. J. (2018). Leddy & Peppers professional nursing (9th ed.). Philadelphia: Wolters


Sensmeier, J. E. (2017). Advancing Nursing Informatics to Improve Healthcare Quality and Outcomes.



Hebda, T., Hunter, K., & Czar, P. (2019). Handbook of informatics for nurses & healthcare professionals (6th ed.). Pearson.

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