Healthcare is readily embracing any technology to improve patient outcomes, streamline operations, and lower costs, but we must also consider the impact of such technology on privacy and patient care.

Consider the following scenario as you write your paper.


You are a nurse at the beginning of the COVID pandemic. The hospital has no more telemetry beds and only 3 “clean” beds left for non-covid patients. This has caused a backlog of inpatient patients holding in the emergency room. You are a nurse from the inpatient units who has been pulled to care for the telemetry patients in the emergency room. There are no more beds available in the emergency room. The patients lined up around the nurses’ stations, and managers caring for patients in the hallways.

You finally get your medications from pharmacy after submitting a request for an inhaler that was needed an hour ago. You go to administer the medications and notice it was just slower to load than normal, but after some time you were able to administer your medications. You are notified by the charge nurse you have a new patient. You introduce yourself and he is asking for a turkey sandwich. You go to check his diet order and the EMR screen turns off and won’t turn back on. Another nurse is close by, and they were able to check the order for you. You then get him some food and complete your assessments. Your EMR screen still has not loaded and it has been 15 minutes. You try to call the help desk to, but you cannot get through for computer support. You’ve tried different computers. Now the other nurses are asking you if you can see what labs are due for their patients, since they cannot get into the EMR now.

It’s been over 40 minutes since anyone has been able to get into the EMR. Senior leadership says there is a network downtime, and they do not know when it will come back. You begin downtime procedures only to find out the downtime computer where emergency data on current patients was unplugged to charge a nurse’s phone. Since this computer was unplugged there is no backed up data, patient names, their lab work or administered medications on any of the patients in your unit.

The charge nurse begins using a white board to track all 110 patients in the ER. The lab begins calling results on patient’s labs manually. Other nurses are texting pictures of handwritten lab results and EKG print outs to doctors from their personal phones. A patient care tech brings your patient to cat scan to get a test done since they are in room 21. After the patient comes back you realize this was the wrong patient. You do your best to keep the 7 patients you are caring for organized and informed, while helping your co-workers during this situation.

Choose an ending to the scenario, and construct your paper based on those reflections. Choose one of the following outcomes:

  • A HIPAA violation occurs, and client data is exposed to the media
  • A medication error has harmed a client
  • A technology downtime that impacts patient care occurs, and an error is made
  • A ransomware attack has occurred, and the organization must contemplate paying the ransom or lose access to patient data

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