Improving the Curriculum with Ethics: Gaps between Perceived Ethical Challenges of Practitioners and Educators

Diane M. Dolezel, Eileen E. Morrison


Health information management (HIM) professionals must address ethical challenges in their role as guardians of
patients’ personal information and organizations’ proprietary information. Because of this need, HIM educators
strive prepare their students to address these challenges. Unfortunately, little evidence exists about specific areas of
applied ethics that should be part of the HIM curriculum. The purpose of this exploratory study was to determine the
ethical issues relevant to the current practice in Health Information Management. In particular, the study aimed to
determine if the perceptions of HIM educators and practitioners regarding HIM workplace ethical issues were
consistent, and to identify gaps in perceptions. The researchers distributed a survey to HIM educators and HIM
practitioners, 12 educators and 25 practitioners completed their surveys. Thematic content analysis indicated a
divergence of themes among these groups. Overall, educators' responses reflected general knowledge areas whereas
practitioners’ comments were more specific in terms of ethics concerns. The study findings indicated a gap in
perceptions signalling a need for increased communication regarding applied ethics in HIM practice so that
curriculums could reflect both theory and application.

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Copyright (c) 2017 Diane M. Dolezel, Eileen E. Morrison

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Journal of Curriculum and Teaching ISSN 1927-2677 (Print) ISSN 1927-2685 (Online)  Email:

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