Breach of HIPAA to look up one's own medical records at work?? - page 2

by sapphire18 Guide

Just wondering what the rationale for this rule is- we are not allowed to enter the chart of any patient unless it is for patient care- which of course makes sense. However we were told that this includes our own charts. I can... Read More


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    I used to run into similar problems working in the hospital. I worked in a pediatric hospital and every now and again, we'd have a patient whose parent worked at the hospital. I once walked into a room and found my patient's mother (An Attending Physician at the hospital) logged into the COW we used for medication scanning. She knew that she wasn't supposed to be on it but didn't so much as apologize when I caught her. She was looking up her daughter's lab values, reading her chart, etc. I was never a patient at this hospital except for one time when I was a nursing student and had a fainting spell... my preceptor and I looked up what the ER wrote about me after that. It's not a HIPAA violation- you have a right to your own information- but, as others said, may be a violation of facility policy.
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    What!?! HIPAA does not just protect your records from unauthorized disclosure, it also gives you, as the patient, the right to view your records. Your employer is violating HIPAA by not allowing you to view your records upon request. It looks like it's how you go a/b it that could be the problem. For Consumers
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    Quote from mariebailey
    What!?! HIPAA does not just protect your records from unauthorized disclosure, it also gives you, as the patient, the right to view your records. Your employer is violating HIPAA by not allowing you to view your records upon request. It looks like it's how you go a/b it that could be the problem. For Consumers
    Wait...the facilities that prohibit employees from looking up their own charts on the computer are not preventing employees from seeing their records, the are just dictating how they get the information (i.e., they have to go through medical records...the cannot look them up on their own). While I think it is kinda silly to not allow employees to view their own medical records, the hospital is within their rights to force employees to go to medical records like everyone else.
    maelstrom143, dudette10, elkpark, and 2 others like this.
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    Quote from psu_213
    Wait...the facilities that prohibit employees from looking up their own charts on the computer are not preventing employees from seeing their records, the are just dictating how they get the information (i.e., they have to go through medical records...the cannot look them up on their own). While I think it is kinda silly to not allow employees to view their own medical records, the hospital is within their rights to force employees to go to medical records like everyone else.
    That is why I said "It looks like it's how you go a/b it that could be the problem."
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    My facility used to have the rule that you had to go to medical records and sign for all the documents, but some time in the last year they changed that. We can look up anything we want on ourselves. Makes sense to me, it's not a violation of my protected information if I'm the one looking it up?...
    Last edit by sckimrn on Oct 24, '12 : Reason: spelling
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    If you can get into a record to view, then could you not make a change? I know there are electronic signatures and there is always a way to find out something with forensics. But if subtle changes can be made....that would be a very good reason for a facility to have a policy.
    Last edit by NutmeggeRN on Oct 24, '12
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    Still it is not a HIPAA violation. Not a HIPAA violation. Not a HIPAA violation. (repeat prn until it's clear what HIPAA really says.)

    Hospitals and clinics often use "It's a HIPAA violation!!!" to cover a lot of laziness or lack of preparation or poor communication efforts-- it sounds scary enough that it makes a lot of uninformed people back the heck off from something the hospital or clinic doesn't want to go to the effort of sharing properly. As asked, the original poster's question is not a HIPAA issue, it's a hospital policy issue, and the hospital should be called on it by requesting to see the section of the HIPAA law that says so. Now, of course, if some uneducated person in HR or medical records is saying it's some sort of HIPAA violation to see your own records, that person can then (and should) be educated, preferably with a copy of the section referring to accessing one's own health record.
    psu_213 and RN-Cardiac like this.
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    Quote from nhnursie
    If you can get into a record to view, then could you not make a change? I know there are electronic signatures and there is always a way to find out something with forensics. But if subtle changes can be made....that would be a very good reason for a facility to have a policy.
    If it is recorded who looks at a record (specifically that the facility would know that you opened your own chart) then it would also record who made entries or changes of info. I would think it would set off a trigger if you had not been in the hospital (as a pt) for 6 months, yet your chart was just modified. And then they would be able to see that you are the one who did it. In other words, I don't think this (employees can alter their records) is a very good reason for disallowing someone to view their own chart.
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    It is most certainly NOT a HIPAA violation, but it may be a violation of facility policy. At my facility, you are allowed to use the system to look up *your own* medical record - not your spouse's, not your family's, not even your minor child's - yours only.
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    My hospital takes the HIPAA stuff seriously.
    We were told that when we sign onto the computer, any screen that we entered could and would be tracked. If we entered areas that we had no reason to enter, we would be in violation of HIPAA. That would be grounds for termination. They meant business. I have never wanted to know something about a pt bad enough to test their resolve.
    If I were the pt, I could ask for copies of my chart, and they would be supplied.


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