HHS 440: Technology in Health and Human Services

Week 2 - Instructor Guidance


privacy - folder with a lock on it

This week we are taking a continued look at security and privacy as we contemplate more and more information about us being digitized and transmitted over networks. Do you feel that your information is safe? I noticed in the textbook that nearly every technological innovation is paired with concerns about privacy...yet these technologies are being applied prior to the privacy issues being solved!

Learning Outcomes

This week students will:

  • Analyze the importance of privacy and security to health care.
  • Explain the importance of the privacy of electronic medical records.
  • Discuss threats to information technology, including crimes, viruses, and the unauthorized use of data.
    Evaluate the many informational resources that computer technology and the Internet have made available and their use in the health care fields.
  • Distinguish between reliable and unreliable sources of healthcare information on the Internet. 


In this section you will find my own thoughts and teaching on the subject matter. This does not substitute for the assigned and suggested course readings and other materials.

I, like many people, make lots of assumptions about my safety and security on the Internet. I gleefully put my credit card information into websites when I order things and I assume that the people at the other end have my best interests in mind...they want to keep me as a customer right??

What about social network sites like Facebook? Do we really know what happens to all that information about us when we post it?

Now, all of this has to do with information WE willfully put on the Web. What about information about us that is digitized and put on the Web (or Internet) for us? We might not even know it is happening!

This week you are asked to explore Chapters 2, 10, and 12 and view 3 separate videos for our Discussions.

Security and Privacy

In my field of Mental Health, privacy and confidentiality are very key notions that are a deep part of the work culture. This is particularly important in mental health because the details of someone's diagnosis, should it become known, can result in discrimination and stigma. We might share with others the fact that we have cancer, but we won't share with others the fact that we have schizophrenia!

We discuss security and privacy issues in this course because many of you will enter jobs where you are going to have access to other persons' private information. This is a POWER that you need to be very aware of.

The US Government (most of the time!) takes your privacy very seriously. This is a deep value in the US based on our history and constitutional law.

Click HERE to visit the US Government Website on HIPPA! (Notice that other links on this page point to topics like "Civic Rights"...this is important stuff!

These regulations, as many of you may know, present unique challenges to organizations that have evolved independent from one another and are now being called upon to change their practices to comply. Check out the article below for a great study on how different healthcare settings have dealt with the challenge!

Anthony, D.L., Appari, A., & Johnson, M.E. (2014). Institutionalizing HIPAA compliance: Organizations and competing logistics in U.S. health care. Journal of Health and Social Behavior. 55(1). 108-124. (Click HERE to download the article)

Information Resources

The web has invited amazing opportunities and challenges in terms of the dissemination of information. However, we need to be good consumers of this information. There has been a tendency for individuals to do simple Google searches on medical information and trust whatever comes up ("It's true if it is on the Internet!")

Check out this "Teachers Easy Guide on how to Evaluate Web Content for Classroom Inclusion"

Here is a small collection of articles related to the reliability and use of Online resources. Pick ONE of these and incorporate what you have read into the discussion for this week.

Metzger, M.J. (2007). Making sense of credibility on the web: Models for evaluating online information and recommendations for future research. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology. 58(13). 2078-2091. (Click HERE to download the article)

Hilligoss, B., & Rieh, S.Y. (2007). Developing a unifying framework of credibility assessment: Construct, heuristics, and interaction in context. Information Processing and Management. doi:10.1016/j.ipm.2007.10.001 (Click HERE to download the article)

Lanks, R.D. (2008). "Trusting the Internet: New approaches to credibility tools." in M.J. Metzger & Flanigin, A.J. (Eds.) The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Series on Digital Media and Learning. 101-102. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA. (Click HERE to download the chapter)


In this section you will find any specific instructions or ideas I may have for you to support your graded work. Please read the instructions for each task in the course as well as the information I have here.

Discussion: Security and Privacy Concerns

For this discussion I would prefer that you simply focus on finding two peer reviewed articles that discuss privacy issues, rather than the definitions of "privacy" and "confidentiality" in health care. (In fact, once ONE of you has posted the definitions we can all likely agree to it and move into what the research is saying about privacy issues.) Find two "peer reviewed" articles that discuss threats (or even solutions) to security issues and comment on those. (see below for a clear definition of what "peer reviewed" articles are)

Discussion: Information Resources

Similar to the first discussion, let's agree early on on the methods of evaluating web-based resources. I would like each of you to explore various Online sources of information and see if you can find credible information. In your post, explain how you APPLIED the standards for evaluating the source. Remember, we are looking ONLY at Online resources right now...see below for a discussion on how Online resources play a role in your final paper.

Assignment: Annotated Bibliography

In Week 1 you needed to submit a proposal and select an area of interest for your final paper. Review the instructions in Week 5 to get a clear sense of what this paper needs to be about.

This week you will be constructing a list of the resources you are going to use to support your paper. This is pretty much the "hard work" of doing a paper so you need to get started on it very early.

What is an Annotated Bibliography?

  • An Annotated Bibliography is a list of the resources (most commonly peer-reviewed) articles that you plan to use in your paper.
  • Each entry includes the following:
    • an APA formatted citation of the article.
    • a brief explanation as to the content of the article and how it will be used in your paper.
  • To see an example of different Annotated Bibliographies, simply do a Google search for "Annotated Bibliography Examples"

What are Peer Reviewed Articles?

  • A Peer Reviewed article is a document created by experts in the field and published in professional journals.
  • The target audience of these articles are NOT students, but other professionals, so students often find them difficult to read and understand.
  • They are NOT found on the web, but they can be found through the Ashford University Library databases.
  • Click HERE for my small web page on the definition of a Peer Reviewed article.

What about all that cool stuff on the Web?

  • The Web is still a very useful place...to START your research, but your research must finish in the Peer Reviewed articles.
  • You can use the web to find names, ideas, and facts...but you need to follow up with confirming this information with the Peer Reviewed articles.
  • Click HERE for a small web page on using Google to get started on your research.

Here is an example, from one of my students at KVCC, of a single entry in an Annotated Bibliography. The title of his research paper is "Do dreams have an effect on our daily moods and behaviors?" (the only change is that the citation should be in "hanging indent" format...this means the first line should start on the left margin and all the other lines should be indented...the opposite of how you would write a paragraph)

Sample Annotated Bibliography Entry

Franklin, M.S., Zyphur, M.J. (2005).The role of dreams in the evolution of the human mind. Evolutionary Psychology, 3: 59-78.

This paper maps out how dreams play a big impact in how our brain is actually formed, and how our personalities, traits and abilities are tied into it.  I am going to use many of the findings to back up the fact that our moods and behavior do have a direct link to how and what we dream.

YOUR Annotated Bibliography must have at least 5 separate peer-reviewed articles. Remember, this part of the assignment is a LOT of the work in putting your paper together...once you have this part done, the rest of the paper is pretty easy to write!