June 22, 2024
Ethics Case Studies for Health Information Management, 1st Edition


Ethics plays a crucial role in the field of Health Information Management (HIM), where professionals are responsible for handling sensitive patient data, ensuring data privacy, and maintaining the highest standards of integrity. In this blog post, we will delve into several ethics case studies that highlight the complex ethical dilemmas faced by HIM professionals in their daily work. These case studies will provide insights into real-life scenarios and stimulate critical thinking about ethical decision-making in healthcare.

Case Study 1: Balancing Patient Privacy and Public Health

Imagine a situation where a health information manager receives a request for patient information from a government agency investigating a potential public health threat. On one hand, the health information manager is obligated to protect patient privacy, but on the other hand, they have a responsibility to promote public health. How should the HIM professional navigate this ethical dilemma?

Case Study 2: Ethical Challenges in Research Studies

In this case, an HIM professional is involved in a research study that requires the collection and analysis of patient data. However, the research study protocol lacks clarity in terms of obtaining informed consent from patients. The HIM professional is torn between the importance of contributing to medical knowledge and the ethical obligation to protect patient autonomy. How can they strike a balance?

Case Study 3: Ensuring Data Accuracy and Integrity

Accuracy and integrity are fundamental principles in HIM. In this scenario, an HIM professional discovers discrepancies in a patient’s medical record, potentially leading to incorrect treatment decisions. However, rectifying the errors would require disclosing the mistake to the patient and their healthcare provider. How should the HIM professional address this ethical dilemma while upholding patient trust?

Case Study 4: Confidentiality and Legal Obligations

An HIM professional is faced with a situation where they become aware of a healthcare provider’s unethical behavior while reviewing patient records. They are torn between maintaining patient confidentiality and the legal obligation to report the provider’s misconduct. How can the HIM professional navigate this ethical challenge without compromising their professional responsibilities?

Case Study 5: Ethical Implications of Emerging Technologies

The rapid advancement of technology in healthcare brings forth new ethical dilemmas. Imagine an HIM professional working with an artificial intelligence (AI) system that predicts patient outcomes based on historical data. However, they discover that the AI system is biased against certain demographics. Should the HIM professional raise concerns about potential discrimination, even if it means delaying the implementation of the AI system?


These ethics case studies shed light on the multifaceted ethical challenges faced by Health Information Management professionals in their day-to-day activities. By examining these scenarios, we can enhance our understanding of ethical decision-making in healthcare and strive for the highest standards of integrity, privacy, and patient-centered care. Being aware of these ethical dilemmas will empower HIM professionals to navigate complex situations and contribute to the ethical advancement of the healthcare industry.