Hippaa Violation!!!!!!

  1. 0
    You admit a pt. The pt is admitted to a semi-private room with a roommate. You start your admission assessment and questioning. You use a generic admissions questionaire that the facility requires you fill out. Even though you are as quiet as possible, the roommate over hears your conversation. Then, the new admission states that his/her HIPPAA rights have been violated and he/she is embarrassed.

    Is this truly a HIPPAA violation? And if so, how do you avoid this if you have semi-private rooms. I read somewhere about "incidentals." Any help would be appreciated.
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  4. 15 Comments so far...

  5. 3
    Double rooms really do present a privacy problem. I'm amazed that hospitals still get away with it.

    All you can do is your best. Close the privacy curtain, have the roomie turn up the volume on their TV speakers, speak in a low voice, etc. If the roomie is ambulatory, you can ask them to wait in the family room for a few minutes, or go for a walk.
    skittlebear, Dolce, and lindarn like this.
  6. 3
    with double rooms, there's not much you can do. do your best to keep your voice low -- impossible when the patient you're talking to is hoh. hipaa makes exceptions in these cases . . . the patient can't claim his rights are being violated if you've done your best!
    skittlebear, lindarn, and nrsang97 like this.
  7. 6
    HIPAA does allow for 'incidental' overhearing of patient information if reasonable measures are taken. In the case of a shared room, it is unreasonable to ask either patient to step outside so the other won't overhear. As long as you're not shouting the questions from the doorway, you are being reasonable. If the patient or patient issue is particularly sensitive, then you might want to take extra measures to ensure the roommate doesn't overhear; but in most cases, it shouldn't be a problem.
    Lurksalot, skittlebear, Dolce, and 3 others like this.
  8. 0
    I, too, am amazed double rooms are still allowable. Rather barbaric.
  9. 1
    I completely understand the situation. As an RT we have voice pagers. So I get called to "Mr Jones" room stat all the time. (Usually when I am at another pts bedside)
    Once I got a call..."Mr Jones in 323, that had a CABG is now SOB and would like a albuterol tx, again thats jones in 323."
    I am the Hippa Queen....so this drives me nuts!!!
    lindarn likes this.
  10. 0
    Im no Hipaa guru but I think your covered. as long as you did the obvious. close curtians etc.... If you read the hppa law it simply states by signing the agreement that you allow the institutuion to release your info to third parties that are entitled to it.....
  11. 2
    Right, the main impetus for HIPAA was to put legal protections in place in regard to electronic data retrieval and transmission. With hard copy medical records, you had to physically have access to the file to see the information within or have authorization for someone to copy specific paages and send them to you. Access to the physical medium of the chart was limited.

    But with electronic medical record systems, it's much easier to access information that you have no reason to be seeing. People can possibly access patient records from any physical location as long as there's a computer connection.

    So HIPAA is a law that defines private health information as something that shouldn't be shared or accessed without patient authorization.
    SuesquatchRN and lindarn like this.
  12. 2
    Quote from blondy2061h
    i, too, am amazed double rooms are still allowable. rather barbaric.
    a hospital wing or building is an enormous investment. most hospitals cannot afford to just tear down or do massive reconstruction on a building just to create all private rooms.
    pagandeva2000 and SuesquatchRN like this.
  13. 3
    Quote from ruby vee
    a hospital wing or building is an enormous investment. most hospitals cannot afford to just tear down or do massive reconstruction on a building just to create all private rooms.
    obviously. but think about the infection risk, the lack of rest (your room mate has the tv blaring all night and there's nothing you can do about it), and the privacy issue. it really is rather backwards and inappropriate.

    i was in the hospital last year with a stomach flu and was having constant diarrhea. i both my room mates and i were on i&os, so every time i went in the bathroom i had to lift her urine-filled hat out and put my own in. it was nasty, and the aids and nurses never seemed to be around to do it. probably because the hospital is infamous for poor staffing. then i kept having diarrhea and my poor room mate had to use the toilet i just had huge amounts of diarrhea into. it's disgusting.

    then imagine having someone just a curtain away while you're having a foley put in. how was that make you feel?

    even if you just had a regular outpatient physical being done, how would you feel if someone else was in the room with you?

    i know it's a huge cost to change things, but i really can't believe we consider this acceptable.


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