Health and human service organizations are becoming increasingly liable for violations of patient privacy as a result of recent federal mandates at both state and federal levels of government. Under such conditions it would seem likely that managers would act to quickly implement such guidelines and mandates, especially in sensitive specialty areas such as mental health. This study sought to examine the degree and type of patient information confidentiality measures adopted in mental health delivery settings, through a national survey of accredited US health information managers. Results suggest that significant nonadoption of basic confidentiality measures continues to exist, despite federal mandates to the contrary. Further examined was the degree to which confidentiality management varies across adoption levels of computerized patient records. Significant variation was found in adoption of patient confidentiality measures between highly computerized and paper-based medical record functions. Similar levels of variation in adoption across practice settings was also discovered. Ramifications for national policy and patient information protection are discussed.
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