I'm Being Disciplined for Looking Up My Own Labs - page 2

Two months ago, I went to the ER (I work in another unit at the same facility) with status migranosus for IV hydration and treatment. Two days later, I went back to the ER with a red streak running... Read More

  1. by   Speculating
    Has dawned on you yet that someone higher up in the hospital was looking at your labs (that probable had no legal right too) in order to come across the fact that you had accessed them?
  2. by   sanctuary
    :smackingf Oh, sweet Mother Murphy! HIPAA is in place because drs and clinics were selling their patients' personal info to other specialists and drug companies for a profit and a kick back if the "referral" was effective. Bean counters are so literal, such concrete thinkers...(say, do you think that that's where the term 'blockhead' came from?) that they can't see the forest for the trees.
    Get your hands on a copy of the regs (website?) and ask them to show you where it says that you are forbidden BY HIPAA to see your own records. They are probably pissed that you got an infection from "their" ER, and a good offense is always the best defense. If they can keep you scrambling about this, you won't think to sue them. And as they have treated other people differently, you might be able to establish "Hostile work environment." Oh, the mind whirls with the potentials... Keep us posted. And so nice of them to be concerned about your health, wellbeing and comfort, too.
  3. by   canoehead
    It is NOT a HIPAA violation, but it may be a violation of hospital policy. The other posters have described some ways of getting the information that will not violate policy...
  4. by   oramar
    We look up our own labs all the time at work. We have been warned that as of January 1st this will be considered a violation of HIPPA. ODD, very ODD.
  5. by   Megsd
    One of the hospitals I do clinicals in has just adopted computer charting. In October my class went for training on how to use the new system. The hospital explained that in addition to any new info, they had also entered all previous charts for the past 10 years into the computer, so if someone was admitted for something in 1997 that could be relevant to care, it can be accessed. One of my classmates has a lot of health issues and uses this hospital as her primary place of care. She casually asked "So, if *I* have been a patient here years ago, could I look up my own chart?" The answer: if you think it's worth losing your job.

    While I find it kind of odd that I'm violating patient privacy (mine) to look up my own info, it kind of sort of makes sense. I have access to information that other patients do not have. Every other patient has to wait for their test results, so why should I receive special treatment? I do not feel that this is an intended "employee benefit" of working in the place of care, so I understand (kind of) why the facility frowns upon it.
  6. by   Marie_LPN, RN
    Quote from nurseangel47
    OK. This is the point where HPPA regs. and policies should be examined, or re-examined, I should say In my opinion, anyway. That is XXXX ridiculous and I'd be so inflammed I'd quit on the spot. That is the most ludicrous, atrocious violations of YOUR rights I've ever heard of....what about one of the organizations that offer legal advice/support free of charge and even represent one when one's own legal rights have been violated?

    Yeah, the next employer would be hog wild about hiring someone who's proven that they have abused privileges.
  7. by   Marie_LPN, RN
    While I find it kind of odd that I'm violating patient privacy (mine) to look up my own info, it kind of sort of makes sense. I have access to information that other patients do not have. Every other patient has to wait for their test results, so why should I receive special treatment?
    I agree.
  8. by   gitterbug
    same here. my records are not mine to look at without orders.
  9. by   outcomesfirst
    This dog won't hunt. All nurses are taught they are not to review their own or any persons medical records unless they are using them to do their job - pre/post HIPPA whatever, always has been this way. If your education did not teach you this, you should get your money back. I think every exam board has a question on this. Sometimes I wonder why nurses think they get a special pass on this. Reasons not to look at your own or family records include mis-interpretation and possibly harm - no further discussion about my rights and my privacy. If you want this info, talk to your doctor, request a copy; if you think your doctor or hospital or whatever is too slow, lying etc. - then get another. If you are ever concerned about being safe to care for patients, then you are obliged to check with your employer health/supervisor, I am sure this is in HR policy as well and a condition of employment. Somtimes I just want to...................
  10. by   ICRN2008
    I had a nurse get extremely mad at me for not pulling her lab results (from an outside MD). Yes, I have access to that information in the laboratory information system, but I refuse to access a co-worker's records at her request. All I need is for someone to question why I pulled that particular record, because I would have to tell the truth and would subjected to disciplinary action.

    This nurse subsequently went to the ED doc and asked him to lie and say that she was being admitted to my hospital (she was not). He got her lab report from me only because it was a weekend and I couldn't get a hold of the lab manager. And guess who was reported to risk management on Monday? Both of them!

    All hospitals have policies that employees are not permitted to access their own or any of their colleagues' records unless it is required in the course of their duties.

    If you do not know that, then your hospital should provide another HIPAA training session to include this information. You made a mistake, but be thankful that your employer is giving you a second chance instead of firing you immediately.
  11. by   daisybaby
    Thanks for the replies, everyone.

    Yes, I should have looked at our privacy policy before I went ahead and looked at my labs. Curiosity got the better of me. My concern and aggravation is over the fact that while I know many co-workers who have done the same thing (and going as far to look up relatives' and childrens' info), no one else is being disciplined for it.

    I'm not going to throw my friends and coworkers under the bus, but if a policy is going to be enforced, it should be enforced for all. This is the first corrective action I've had brought against me and all my performance reviews have shown that I "meet or exceed unit standards." It concerns me further that I am considered just as guilty as if I had looked up a VIPs admission record or a coworkers psych history without their knowledge.

    Bottom line, I didn't use good judgement and got burned for it. I own my actions 100%. I just don't know why I'm being made an example of.

    Have a wonderful holiday everyone!
    Last edit by daisybaby on Dec 20, '06
  12. by   Marie_LPN, RN
    My concern and aggravation is over the fact that while I know many co-workers who have done the same thing (and going as far to look up relatives' and childrens' info), no one else is being disciplined for it.
    Anyone could be made an example of.

    Perhaps others have been disciplined for it and it's just not public knowledge. Or maybe there's been an increase in people violating this policy and now they're cracking down on it.

    It concerns me further that I am considered just as guilty as if I had looked up a VIPs admission record or a coworkers psych history without their knowledge.
    Reason why is that work-related resources/access was being used (abused) for non-work related purposes.
  13. by   daisybaby
    Quote from Marie_LPN
    Anyone could be made an example of.

    Perhaps others have been disciplined for it and it's just not public knowledge. Or maybe there's been an increase in people violating this policy and now they're cracking down on it.



    Reason why is that work-related resources/access was being used (abused) for non-work related purposes.
    Touche! You'd do well in management (I mean that as a compliment). :spin:

    Review of policy states that corrective action for offenses such as mine will "be consistently applied." I wonder if that will truly be the case on my unit.

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