Anyone else think HIPAA rules are getting out of hand? - page 3

My manager told me yesterday that I can't write the resident's last name on our bowel care sheet. For privacy I have to write a room number. Really? The clipboard we keep behind the nurses station where no one can see it needs... Read More

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    As long as hospitals have double occupancy rooms there really is no such thing as patient "privacy". Sometimes I wonder about hospital priorities, you have to use a room number and not a name on the bowel sheet, but trust me the roommate knows exactly how many BMs that patient has had, and most likely their diagnosis, and their meds.

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  2. 1
    Look, you also run the risk of the parents not knowing about their kid's condition first and how would you feel if your mother told you that your child is sick when the hospital didn't tell you first? Your mother might interpret the words wrong so that it sounds more negative or positive than it actually is and have you being inappropriately freaked out or too blase about the actual situation.

    If the information is benign and mom is present at the bedside, I talk directly to the mom, but I don't ask the visitors to step out.

    But just because a patient allows a person to visit them doesn't mean that they want absolutely everything shared with every single person. Obviously, if you have a broken leg and you let visitors come, they're gonna know that you have a broken leg. I'm not talking about that. I'm talking about the jerk doctor who comes in amongst all the family members and announces, "your test results have come back and you are positive for gonorrhea" (again, this DID happen while I was a nursing student years ago).

    Know that in peds, everything is a lot more hairy when it comes to relatives/visitors. It's better to stay cautious. I once had a patient acutely decompensated in <30 minutes requiring intubation and multiple interventions and then the grandparents walked in. I felt really bad that I couldn't tell them exactly what was going on, but it was the right thing to do to tell the parent's first. They did know it wasn't good what was going on and I enlisted their help in trying to contact the parents (we had tried a couple of numbers).
    wooh likes this.
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    Quote from brownbook

    It makes no sense.
    It makes no sense why you couldn't just ask the parents the question. Just because this was a benign question in your family doesn't mean it's a benign question to the next family. Frankly, it truly was NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS. If the baby's parents wanted to make it your business, then they were free to do so.

    Just because I'm in the hospital, it doesn't give every person that walks in the room the right to know whatever they want to know. Even if it's my grandmother that wants to know.
    KelRN215 and Rose_Queen like this.
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    Do some of the privacy rules get ridiculous? Sure. But forget HIPAA law and think about a person's right to privacy.

    People always talk about "My family member wanted me to know but they wouldn't tell me!"

    I'm going to err on the side of caution. I don't know that YOU are who you say you are. I don't know know that the family member really WOULD want you to know.

    If it was YOUR medical information, would you want me giving it to the woman at your job that hates you and is always looking for ways to get you fired just because she said she was your sister?

    Would you want me telling your neighbor that you're dying before you've had a chance to tell your husband and kids just because you let your neighbor visit?
    KelRN215 likes this.
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    Quote from Sweet_Wild_Rose
    Interesting. Our preop area has two large bulletin boards listing patients' last names and preop room number. Apparently this was investigated before initiated and found to be okay as long as we don't list first and last names.
    Same where I work. We have patients last names posted on the white board where EVERYONE can see.
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    We don't even allow visitors without a family member in our NICU. Believe me, we run into some pretty funky family dynamics and is better to talk with the parents there. Like some one said, if I told you the baby was on acyclovir or AZT, then I would be giving you mom's diagnosis also, which, frankly, isn't anyone's business unless the parent wants you to know. We can give basic info, he's doing okay, he weighs this, his length is that, he is eating well. Just general things. It is the rules and you, as an RN, should know we have to comply by them, no
    Matter how stupid they may seem.
    wooh likes this.
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    Knock knock
    Who's there?
    HIPAA who?
    Sorry, can't tell you.

    I worked in an ENT office and we ordered a CT sinus on a new patient. They wanted to use the facility where they worked instead of a local free-standing imaging center. When the pt came back for a follow-up we noticed we still didn't have the results. I called the facility and she told me to fax the request. I wrote out the request for the CT results for pt x and gave our fax number. Several minutes later I called back and asked for the results again. I was told they threw away my first fax. I had to get a SIGNED RELEASE FROM THE PATIENT to get the results sent to us. I reminded them we were the ordering physician and they were supposed to have sent the results either via fax or by the patient and they said they can't give us results without the patient's written permission. I asked what good a CT scan was without the ORDERING DOCTOR knowing what it said! The patient signed the release when I explained the situation and the results followed 15 minutes later. The pt then noted who I had spoken to; he was head of one of the departments in the hospital and agreed it was ridiculous that I had to go through all that when the facility was supposed to send the report as soon as it was done. The ordering physician does NOT need a signed release to get the results of a test.
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    What do you mean, it's not available online? Of course it is.

    HIPAA - U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

    Last edit by GrnTea on Oct 24, '12 : Reason: Sorry, didn't see the earlier post c the link
  9. 0
    I don't think HIPAA is the problem. I think the problem is that many organizations misinterpret the law or exceed the standard in such a way that it negatively impacts patient care and impedes practice. Don't get me wrong; I am a fan of protecting personal health information. I think there should be more training available on interpreting HIPAA for those who make decisions on organizational policy.
  10. 0
    It's a control issue with alot of flunkies in medical records who think they have the power to decide who can have copies of medical records even though they have the release right in from them from another hospital/clinic/instacare/dr's office.

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