I'm Being Disciplined for Looking Up My Own Labs - page 3

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   Marie_LPN, RN
    If they are true professionals in management, the only way you'd know your co-workers got disciplined for the same thing is if the ones disciplined told you they were.
  2. by   daisybaby
    Quote from Marie_LPN
    If they are true professionals in management, the only way you'd know your co-workers got disciplined for the same thing is if the ones disciplined told you they were.
    Exactly- Whether or not they are true professionals in management, I'd certainly never ask that the names of disciplined coworkers be disclosed to me, nor would I expect that information to be made public on the unit unless it came straight from my coworkers.

    *Off to finish holiday shopping* :spin:
  3. by   Ruby Vee
    Quote from daisybaby
    once back at work, i looked up my labs for the final bc report (thought it might be a good idea to make certain i wasn't infected before handling babies). since my pmd does not have admitting priviledges at my hospital, it could be several days before her office received the results by mail and who knows how long before her office called me. so, i looked it up myself, and was reassured by the negative result.

    today, i was notified that i am being disciplined for 'violation of confidential medical information'- aka a hipaa violation. i have, apparently, violated my own privacy by looking up my own labs. what the ???
    [font="comic sans ms"]i can't believe you honestly didn't know this wasn't ok! it's appropriate to be disciplined for looking up your own labs. if you're concerned, call your doc and have her request them to be read to her over the phone -- she can then tell you what they are!
  4. by   lorster
    Quote from daisybaby
    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 from my IV site up my biceps. Thrombophlebitis with possible MRSA infection, the attending said. Got IV/PO Clinda and had blood cultures drawn, with instructions not to return to work for 48 hours.

    Once back at work, I looked up my labs for the final BC report (thought it might be a good idea to make certain I wasn't infected before handling babies). Since my PMD does not have admitting priviledges at my hospital, it could be several days before her office received the results by mail and who knows how long before her office called me. So, I looked it up myself, and was reassured by the negative result.

    Today, I was notified that I am being disciplined for 'Violation of Confidential Medical Information'- aka a HIPAA violation. I have, apparently, VIOLATED MY OWN PRIVACY by looking up my own labs. What the ???

    For the next three months, every sign-on with my password will be reviewed to make sure I am only accessing information for patients I am directly caring for. If I am in found to be violation of these terms (which I certainly am not going to do), I will be terminated.

    Now, I wasn't snooping around to find out a coworker's Hep status, or prying into the file of a VIP patient on another unit- I was looking up my own information, for Pete's sake! "The organization takes privacy very seriously and views looking up your own information as serious a violation as if you had looked up someone else's medical information," I was told.

    I know plenty of other RNs I work with who have looked up their own information. Or their kid's radiology reports. Or their husband's labs. I seem to be the only one, though, being disciplined. And to be put in the same penalty box as those who have snooped into the files of other patients or coworkers makes me upset. I think my hospital is taking HIPAA to a huge extreme here.

    Anyone else here been taken to the woodshed for 'violating their own privacy'?
    Sheesh.
    I had a near miss a few months ago. Since I have had a positive PPD, I have done yearly chest xrays so I have to take a copy of the results to HR once a year. I got into our computer to print out the results, thinking I would be saving medical records from having to do it. My name did not come up, thankfully so I asked a coworker what I was doing wrong. She informed me that another worker in the hospital had been fired three weeks earlier for trying to get her information such as what I was doing. I had no idea. I have worked this job for many years and had frequently gone to look at my labs, etc. Our hospital changed this policy several months back. So, now I know not to access the computer for any information except for those patients I am taking care of on that particular day. Also, my understanding is that you are not able to access information on any patient who are not in your care on that particular day. If that patient goes home, and a couple of days later, you are curious about a lab value, such as a blood culture, it is a violation. So do not take a chance on this. It just is not worth your job and this bad mark could follow you.
  5. by   lorster
    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?
    I absolutely agree. It has gotten out of hand. I had a patient in not too long ago who was found by a neighbor, unresponsive in her bathroom. She was brought to our hospital and ended up dying before her loved ones were able to get here to see her. Her daughter called from clear across the country wanting to know this womans condition. I was not allowed to tell her anything because of good old HIPPA laws. After three phone calls and the woman breaking down and sobbing, I thought screw it, I'm gonna give her information and I did. I figured if I lost my licence over it, I would have given information to a grieving relative. Sometimes we have to use our common sense in these situations. I was never disciplined over this and the nurses on my unit said they would have done the same thing. I guess I would do it again if I was put in that situation.
  6. by   nrsang97
    I have done this many times. At my facility we are allowed to look up ourself, and minor child. We cannot look up our husband's or parent's labs, and etc. I really think you should be able to look up your own labs. It's not like you were looking up the local sports star's or a co worker's labs. In our lab system it will ask if pt is a employee why we are looking up this info. I have had this happen a few times because I happened to be taking care of a employee so I was using only for what was needed for care of them as a patient. So you were really doing nothing wrong.
  7. by   morte
    hmm it appears that two hospitals have made logical accomodations...you can look up your own and a minor childs....this makes sense....i havent scrutinized HIPAA, but at least two persons have responded that stated that acc. your OWN is not a HIPAA violation......and the person who said that it was taught in "all programs" that you were not entitled to look at your own....i think you ought check that out......those records are MINE, to be given to me (copies) when ever i ask for them....i paid for them, and the are about me....they are MY business.......just got the dictated results on an MRI.......am i supposed to wait until the doc sees me in Jan.? he.. no
  8. by   Zippedodah
    We have to log in to EPIC to get any results and quarterly they do a random audit of people....unlucky for you if you are the one that gets pulled and you looked up your labs. You know the odds and you decided to do it, so you are gambling.

    I know that CCF has My Chart...which I think is great..if you can get the docs to remember to enter the data!
  9. by   SmilingBluEyes
    Also consider, management generally has policies against discussing disciplinary actions taken against your coworkers. You may or may *not* be the "example" but one of many. Maybe they have finally decided to enforce a policy that was being violated and ignored too long, before taking a "hit" from JCAHO or state. You really don't know. You are lucky, because where I am, if they caught me doing this, no warning, I would be fired on the first offense.

    Just consider this your cautionary. You learned your lesson. If you are the example, I am sorry, but I guess management had to draw a line someplace to start. I am sure others will fall for the same offense, if this continues. I guess it would behoove us all to check with our HR departments if we have any doubts about policy.

    Take care and good luck. I hope your health does improve!
  10. by   outcomesfirst
    Quote from morte
    hmm it appears that two hospitals have made logical accomodations...you can look up your own and a minor childs....this makes sense....i havent scrutinized HIPAA, but at least two persons have responded that stated that acc. your OWN is not a HIPAA violation......and the person who said that it was taught in "all programs" that you were not entitled to look at your own....i think you ought check that out......those records are MINE, to be given to me (copies) when ever i ask for them....i paid for them, and the are about me....they are MY business.......just got the dictated results on an MRI.......am i supposed to wait until the doc sees me in Jan.? he.. no
    Morte, please investigate your education. Those records are not yours. They belong to the hospital. You do have a right to request copies, but there is no law that says you will get them. Nursing 101 - What do you do if a patient asks to look at his chart? Please do scrutinize HIPPA regulations. Seriously, help yourself, your peers, your patients, your employer and your license. There are excellent CEU courses available on HIPPA, Medical Records and Employee Relations. Also a great resource is your Board of Nursing. Good luck and best wishes.
  11. by   TazziRN
    I may be wrong but I believe HIPAA does not apply to people who have died.

    As for giving info to long distance callers: if the pt cannot give me permission because of his/her condition, I will ask the caller for identifying info to make sure it really is a relative, then I only give basics: "Your mother will be admitted to the hospital and she is doing fine/not doing well right now."
  12. by   meownsmile
    Our rules regarding accessing computer info is the same. No access unless you are caring for yourself. Only access to patients we are caring for or are communicating to a doctor's office about (patients own).
    As far as communicating the death of a patient. That is a touchy subject. IF the person on the phone is listed on the chart as an emergency contact or POAHC then yes, otherwise i wont give any information. If the person insists i usually will refer them to the supervisor and let them handle it. If the person is that far away, they will want more information than i have time or knowledge of to give them, they would need to talk to the doctor, so the supervisor is the next best place to send that call.
  13. by   niccikatie
    It's so interesting that policies vary so widely. We are allowed to look up our own records at work. We are not allowed access to any other people's records unless we need them for pt car purposes (including spouse and minor children).

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