What is your policy on giving patient info over the phone?

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    What is your facilities policy on giving information to family/friends over the phone? Do you have the patient/family set up a password or use some other way in order to be sure that is someone who should really be receiving info? I am on a work group for our facility to write a housewide policy. Currently each floor seems to be doing something different which causes problems if a patient gets transferred to another floor or if they have a future stay on a different floor. Any info would be great!
  2. 17 Comments so far...

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    Callers are informed we are not allow to provide information over the phone and are encouraged to call whoever is the designated family spoke person (if for whatever reason patient unable to take call). If the patient is able to take the call...just ask the patient.
    sunnycalifRN, xtxrn, and mcleanl like this.
  4. 1
    Quote from Nccity2002
    Callers are informed we are not allow to provide information over the phone and are encouraged to call whoever is the designated family spoke person (if for whatever reason patient unable to take call). If the patient is able to take the call...just ask the patient.
    How do you know who the designated family spokesperson is or if that has been set up? If we have a patient who has been here for awhile or is a complicated case we encourage the family to set up a spokesperson but on the flip side of that how do you really know who is calling on the phone. If "Suzy" is set up as the spokesperson, who is to say another female family member calls and say they are "Suzy" so they can get info over the phone. Just playing devil's advocate because these are the issues we have arising on a daily basis.
    MassED likes this.
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    On admission a person should be identified as the spokeperson in case of emergencies, especially if a patient is unable to communcate (ideally spouses,parents, or whoevere has the DPA). We make it clear on admission (and in writing) that we DO NOT provide phone information. If the caller is the designated spoke person, you can set up a system where she/he can povide the patient's ss#, or some other form of password. Usually, once the caller is informed that by law we are unable to provide info, they are very understadning.
    xtxrn likes this.
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    We give the parents ( I work with kids) a passcode and only to them. We inform them that this is only given to them and if someone calls and has this number we know that whomever is callng can receive any medical information. So we tell the parents or guardian to only keep it to themselves.
    xtxrn likes this.
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    One hospital I worked used the last 4 digits of the account number. Worked great, as there was never any confusion as to where to look for the code.
    LoveMyBugs and Mommy&RN like this.
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    Quote from RNNPICU
    We give the parents ( I work with kids) a passcode and only to them. We inform them that this is only given to them and if someone calls and has this number we know that whomever is callng can receive any medical information. So we tell the parents or guardian to only keep it to themselves.
    We did the same thing w/drug/alcohol rehab patients- the only way anyone could LEAVE a message was to have the code. No code- no acknowledgement the person even existed....let alone was a patient. The only outgoing calls about a patient came from the patient. Any calls to the detox unit were treated the same way- no code, no info/message. (though later, we might tell the person someone had called, and if the person gave a name, pass that along). No secretarial services for patients. Didn't need drug dealers, or enablers calling and bugging the patient- and not our problem to figure out who was who. At that facility, it was a federal offense even back in the mid 90s to violate confidentiality about a patient begin there, and it was taken very seriously.

    In acute care, if the patient couldn't take an incoming call, info was given only to the POAH- period. But only if the patient couldn't deal with the calls him/herself. If someone was in the room and I needed to ask/tell sensitive info, I'd clear it with the patient first- and ask the visitors to step out if needed (they were often very agreeable to that). On admission, we asked if the person wanted the operator to send calls to the room and/or acknowledge that they were even there.

    AS a patient, I resented any nurse who came in my room, being overly chummy, and telling me in front of visitors that my mag citrate was on the floor, and to let her know when I wanted it, going into detail about how it worked (thanks...).... or that the items in the bathroom were even there- my visitors did not need to know that info... nice kid- but she had a lot to learn about not blabbing to visitors...even if a family member - doesn't mean they get to know anything That was MY job to tell them what I wanted them to know I got the same question about being in the hospital, on admission- was it ok to send calls up, or acknowledge I was there. My POAH was listed- and didn't call the desk about anything- she called me since I could deal with calls...her role wasn't in effect.
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    We don't have a password or anything at my work but I do think it would be a great idea! It would make things much easier and clearer.
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    We too had a policy, followed by all........No pass word NO information. We also used the last 4 digitis of the account number......saved time, confusion and frustration!
    xtxrn likes this.
  11. 1
    Quote from Nccity2002
    Callers are informed we are not allow to provide information over the phone and are encouraged to call whoever is the designated family spoke person (if for whatever reason patient unable to take call). If the patient is able to take the call...just ask the patient.
    This is our policy also. You cannot be sure who you are speaking with; the person can claim to be anyone and you have no way of knowing for sure.

    Actually, we have had problems with visitors claiming to be the spouse or direct family; they are given information and later we find out they lied.
    colnurse likes this.


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