Need advice!

  1. Hey guys,

    I was just wondering what I should do in a sticky situation I'm facing. Recently, I left my office position and moved on to someplace else, but I still keep in touch of my former co-workers, mainly through Facebook. Well, one of my girlfriends has a picture album posted on FB titled "office fun" which features pics of the girls, office manager and other stuff around the office. The issue is, as many of you may have guessed, that in almost every one of her pictures there is all types of HIPAA violations. Some of the pics have charts in the them, face sheets (which includes pt's full name, address, DOB, and insurance info) and some even have pt's in the background!! Now, I'm not going to lie, the charts and face sheets aren't very easy to read if you're just glancing with the naked eye, but if you just so happen to be Super Hacker, with the right equipment and the desire to steal a pt's information... well, its right there for you. And I was in total shock to see that she posted a pic with a pt's mother (it's a split office, internal medicine and peds) standing right there in the back... I mean, AS CLEAR AS DAY! I commented on one of her pics telling her that it was a HIPAA violation, not preaching to her but just giving her a heads up that maybe she should remove it, but as of right now... no response.

    So I guess my question is, what should I do? I don't want it to come off to her like I'm waving my finger, but I do want for her to protect herself from getting into any trouble and also protect the identities of our pts. I mean, she is a big girl, she's knows about privacy laws just like everyone else, but... Idk. Maybe she just isn't thinking clearly right now. Should I reach out to her again? And if so, how do I approach the situation without sounding like I'm telling her what to do. Any suggestions?? Thanks in advance, guys!
  2. Visit ImASuckyCMA87 profile page

    About ImASuckyCMA87

    Joined: May '08; Posts: 69; Likes: 36


  3. by   Jackfackmasta
    If she does not respond and place the pics down I would report her. Yeah, she is a friend but nurses have a duty to be pt advocates and report breaches in confidentiality and HIPPA. Better safe than sorry. This is why I do not take pictures at work, especially in pt care areas.
  4. by   nola1202
    shoot, I never even thought of that, we just shot camera phone pics of I have to go back and review it. Lucky for me it's high privacy setting facebook page but stillll...good catch. Thanks
  5. by   Yiggs
    That is in very poor taste for your friend to do. Is she a Nurse or some other health care worker? A similar situation occured on my unit and the Head Nurse called a meeting and warned the staff that HR gets a hold of it, he could not intervene to help the staff because it is out of his hand. Tell her she needs to ask someone in HR /Risk Management a hypothetical? question (ask indirectly, like...what if some one post a group picture taken on the unit with pt's and charts in the background and post it on Facebook, what's the worse that could happenn to those involved?). Common sense should tell her it is not appropriate, it's a pity you are in the picture!
  6. by   ImASuckyCMA87
    Thanks so much for the suggestions, everyone! Yiggs, we aren't RN's, we're MA's. And thankfully, I'm not in the pics... Thanks for the thoughts!!
  7. by   Telelizard
    Send her a private message on FB letting her know you are just looking out for her and perhaps others that see the pics won't & will report her as they should.
  8. by   NamasteNurse
    I'd stay out of it. It's her problem not yours and if your facility cares, they will find out and handle it.
  9. by   noahsmama
    You've already commented on one of her pictures that it's a HIPAA violation. She has chosen to ignore this and leave the pictures up. If it were my friend, I would let it go at this point, but I would block that post from my own FB newsfeed, so at least it's not showing up there. If she gets in trouble, she has no one but herself to blame.....
  10. by   Esme12
    I probably wouldn't have posted on the picture "it's a HIPAA violation" but I would PM here and state that employers don't have a sense of humor with this stuff and she's taking a big risk putting the pictures out there with so much potential for HIPAA violation. There are so many nuances to the law and the fines are HUGE!!!!!!! You can warn her then drop it......she's a big girl and should be able to make her own decisions and deal with the consequences. YOu can let the MD's know if you still have a relationship with them IF you feel you must....but then I'd butt out.....good luck!
  11. by   nurseprnRN
    a hunnert or so years ago i was in charge in our cardiac surg icu one fine evening and looked up to see a camera crew coming up the hall to our front desk. seems we had a patient who was newsworthy and they wanted some atmosphere shots of the unit-- they knew they weren't gonna get in the patient care area in back, but they wanted to have some interesting visuals. we had a big white board up at the desk with all the patients' names, team, nurse name, and recent labs (hct, k+, like that) on it, and they spotted his name and wanted to shoot that. i wouldn't let them because it was an invasion of privacy and besides, other patient's names would be visible. they said, "we could shoot their names in a phone book," and i said, "fine, here's the phone book."
    so that is how i got to be in the background of the evening news, looking at a phone book.
  12. by   AgentBeast
    I don't see how it's your issue. It's not your facebook page, and it's not your medical information. You did your due diligence in notifying your friend of the violation.