I'm Being Disciplined for Looking Up My Own Labs - page 4

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   lsyorke
    Quote from outcomesfirst
    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.
    Hmm, sorry to disagree!! This is directly from the HIPAA website
    http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/hipaa/consumer_summary.pdf

    Providers and health insurers who are required to
    follow this law must comply with your right to:
    Ask to see and get a copy of your
    health records


    Have corrections added to your
    health information

    Receive a notice that tells you how your
    health information may be used and shared

    Decide if you want to give your permission
    before your health information can be used
    or shared for certain purposes, such as
    for marketing

    Get a report on when and why your health
    information was shared for certain purposes

    If you believe your rights are being denied or
    your health information isn't being protected,
    you can
    File a complaint with your provider
    or health insurer
    File a complaint with the
    U.S. Government
    You should get to know these important rights, which
    help you protect your health information. You can ask
    your provider or health insurer questions about your
    rights. You also can learn more about
    your rights, including how to file a
    complaint, from the website at
    HHS - Office for Civil Rights - HIPAA
    or by calling
    1-866-627-7748;
    the phone call is free.
  2. by   TiffyRN
    Quote from lsyorke
    Ask to see and get a copy of your
    health records
    Ok, am I just not getting something here? HIPAA gives you the right to ASK for a copy (and receive). It does not give you to right to enter the hospital's computer system and access any records that do not belong to a patient you are caring for. I know the OP was told it was a HIPAA violation, but my feeling was that it was more a violation of computer usage.

    How do the other healthcare workers out there feel when a patient grabs their chart and just starts browsing? In our hospital this is allowable but requires that the patient (or in my unit's case, the parent) sign a release paper and at that time has some explanations offered about how some reports are not final and all implications of test results need explanation from the MD.
  3. by   bethin
    It is a HIPPA violation. Also, where I work every year on my hire date I have to sign a paper agreeing that I understand that I cannot use computers for personal use and I cannot look up my own labs.

    A year ago my MD found masses on my liver through US and ordered an ab CT. I was a mess. I may only be 26 but these were large masses and I was having alot of RUQ pain. The day after I had my CT I looked up my results and printed the report off. Masses where also found on my breasts. When my MD came for rounds he told me he hadn't rec'd any results. I told him I had the report in my pocket. He looked it over and told me the plan. I had my CT on a Thurs, I worked on Sat. I ended up having biopsies and everything turned out fine.

    My feeling is it's my health and I have the right. I don't look at other nurses med history as it's not my business as an aide. Also, being a pt on the floor where I also work I want the same respect I give others.

    I do not look up family members lab results. And I've never been reprimended. I know I'm taking a risk when I'm doing it but when you was the mess I was, I needed peace of mind.
  4. by   morte
    Quote from lsyorke
    Hmm, sorry to disagree!! This is directly from the HIPAA website
    http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/hipaa/consumer_summary.pdf

    Providers and health insurers who are required to
    follow this law must comply with your right to:
    Ask to see and get a copy of your
    health records

    Have corrections added to your
    health information

    Receive a notice that tells you how your
    health information may be used and shared

    Decide if you want to give your permission
    before your health information can be used
    or shared for certain purposes, such as
    for marketing

    Get a report on when and why your health
    information was shared for certain purposes

    If you believe your rights are being denied or
    your health information isn't being protected,
    you can
    File a complaint with your provider
    or health insurer
    File a complaint with the
    U.S. Government
    You should get to know these important rights, which
    help you protect your health information. You can ask
    your provider or health insurer questions about your
    rights. You also can learn more about
    your rights, including how to file a
    complaint, from the website at
    HHS - Office for Civil Rights - HIPAA
    or by calling
    1-866-627-7748;
    the phone call is free.
    thanks, morte
    the idea of not having access to your records without supervision was not a blanket law even before hipaa
  5. by   lsyorke
    Quote from TiffyRN
    Ok, am I just not getting something here? HIPAA gives you the right to ASK for a copy (and receive). It does not give you to right to enter the hospital's computer system and access any records that do not belong to a patient you are caring for. I know the OP was told it was a HIPAA violation, but my feeling was that it was more a violation of computer usage.

    How do the other healthcare workers out there feel when a patient grabs their chart and just starts browsing? In our hospital this is allowable but requires that the patient (or in my unit's case, the parent) sign a release paper and at that time has some explanations offered about how some reports are not final and all implications of test results need explanation from the MD.
    My post was in reference to the "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."
    Computer access to your own records is a hospital policy issue, and is grounds for firing, if it is stated in the policy.
  6. by   Marie_LPN, RN
    I know I'm taking a risk when I'm doing it but when you was the mess I was, I needed peace of mind.
    Pts. who aren't employees of a facilty would probably like such peace of mind.
  7. by   donsterRN
    On our very first day of clinicals, our instructor made sure to tell us I don't know how many times that we were to use the computer to access information only on patients assigned to our care. It was hospital policy. No personal information, none on family members, co-workers, neighbors, friends or enemies. She mentioned it was a HIPAA guideline, but the termination of employment information was in the hospital's policy manual.
  8. by   GardenDove
    another legalistic bunch of hooey from our paternalist medical and legal system if you ask me. how many (profanity deleted) rules and regulations are the bureacrats going to keep piling on us? i'm so sick of nerds running the world, they don't give a (profanity deleted) about anyone, and would sell their own grannies to the glue factory before they'd violate hippa schmippa. these are the same (profanity deleted)er's who nailed jesus to the cross, just following the (profanity deleted) rules! :angryfire
  9. by   walkingrock
    I find this quite shocking! I've never heard of someone getting in trouble for looking up their OWN lab results! I'm certainly familiar with not looking at any personal or medical info on patients that are not under one's direct care or risk termination!!
  10. by   carolinapooh
    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?
    Seriously.

    You can't look at your own stuff, but an insurance company can see pharmacy records and see what drugs you've been prescribed? Can see surgery records? What in the world - I've always wondered why yoiu have to SIGN A RELEASE to see your own medical records??!!!

    This is where HIPAA falls RIGHT OFF THE DEEP END into ridiculous.

    I follow rules because I like to keep whatever job I have, but that does NOT mean I just say "Ok, that makes sense, and it makes sense because they say it does". This one is just moronic. Yes, I know HIPAA - and every time I hear this one, I just roll my eyes because it is the just about the stupidest thing ever written.

    You can request records, but not look at them? Insane.

    And as for the whole personal-at-work thing, don't chat to friends, don't mention anything outside of what you're supposed to be at work to do, don't go to the potty, and don't take a second to sit if you get the chance - these are all personal acts that have nothing to do with office time. You can really stretch that as literal as you'd like to go. Anything that has nothing to do with what you're doing at work is, strictly speaking, personal, and could easily fall into that arguement. And no one would ever agree to work in an environment like that anyway (no literal interpretations, no fingerpointing, and no comments about hospital floors, please - you all know what I mean).

    Simply stated, this is ridiculous. I would be equally infuriated and would feel equally accused and incriminated. Ridiculous. HIPAA has loopholes in it big enough for an insurance company to drive a semi through, and they're all wadded up because someone LOOKED AT HER OWN RECORDS and, by their own admission, VIOLATED HER OWN PRIVACY? The quote from that (form!) letter she got is almost ludicrous - the one about them taking her violation of her own privacy as a serious offense, or whatever it said. I mean, how daft does that sound?

    And I have to wonder: how much time and money is being wasted by the institution dealing with this, while someone who's REALLY blowing it gets by with whatever wrongdoing they're committing? (Diverting? Looking at their neighbor's records via a nurse who's actually caring for the pt? Stealing money from Petty Cash?) DUMB. No, I correct myself - SAD. Really and truly SAD.

    In this day and age, I WISH I was the only one violating my own privacy. Until I get a logical, reasonable, and in-black-and-white verifiable explanation of why looking at my own records should continue to be some type of criminal offense (because violating HIPAA can be a criminal offense), I will continue to giggle at the insanity of such a rule and will sympathize greatly with those who get dinged by it. Especially in cases like the OPs - assuming everything there is spot on, and I have no reason to think it isn't.

    (Bows) Now I step off my soapbox...sling mud at will....
    Last edit by carolinapooh on Dec 21, '06
  11. by   Chaya
    Yes, until HIPPA starts to be applied both with common sense and with consistancy my attitude in "iffy" situations is to use my own common sense and take whatever course of action provides the best patient care. If I felt I needed to look up my own labs in order to provide safe patient care AND obtaining them through approved channels would cause unjustifiable delay AND I was willing to act on the results (ie, notify my MD of the result if abnormal and remove myself from pt care), that is what I would do and I would take whatever measures I needed to to prevent consequences.
    I've never had an issue with my own labs because I am more comfortable receiving care at a facility different from the one where I work. But so often we are supposed to follow these stupid regs and there is no accomodation made to enable us to do so. Example: a few weeks ago I was caring for a patient whom I did not know personally but who happened to be a hospital employee. Special access is required to access medical records of employees, and I was unable to access crucial lab results for several hours until I was able to reach one of her docs who could access them. Of course TPTB would say to have the Unit Coord or charge nurse access them-only it was a weekend, when we don't always have a UC-as was the case that day. Also not all the charge nurses have the enhanced access-and this one did not. TPTB would have all sorts of suggestions about all the options I had; only TPTB were all home enjoying their weekend and this turned out to be one of those frighteningly frequent times when an individual pt "falls through the cracks. Luckily no harm to this pt resulted from this delay but it could have turned out differently.
  12. by   canoehead
    Quote from Marie_LPN
    Pts. who aren't employees of a facilty would probably like such peace of mind.
    I think they should be able to access their records online, absolutely. That would be a huge selling point for a hospital- patients results are available to patients just as soon as they are available to the health care providers. They would have to speak with their PCP for interpretation of the results, the hospital may decide to post just "positive" or "negative" online instead of detailed reports, but I think it's a great idea!
  13. by   outcomesfirst
    Quote from lsyorke
    My post was in reference to the "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."
    Computer access to your own records is a hospital policy issue, and is grounds for firing, if it is stated in the policy.
    I stand by my information. Yes the records do belong to the hospital (or doctor or insurance company) and yes you may request a copy. There is still no law which specifys what you will get. The HIPPA public fact sheet does indeed state: "Providers and health insurers who are required to follow this law must comply with your right to: Ask to see and get a copy of your health records" Stop for a minute and think about the words in this statement.
    It is naive, perhaps even dangerous, to believe that this public statement means you can just say to your hospital or doctor I want to see and get a copy of my health records and they will just quickly run off a set for you. Try it.

close