HIPAA Question or ethics issue? - page 2

by somedaypeds | 4,254 Views | 18 Comments

I am a private duty peds nurse. The mom of my tiny patient has a special blog that is for people who have kids with chronic issues to post updates on how the child is doing. She has given me access to view the blog. Is... Read More


  1. 0
    You could subscribe and read. i would not comment on it at all. Many many people have blogs regarding their chronic illness. I have one which detailed my recovery and return to running in really excruciating detail, from a very complicated hip surgery. I found out later that my Physical Therapist was one of my subscribers. It turns out...he had been subscribing for a year before the surgery and didn't get that it was me until I posted some photos and details regarding the surgery. He never left a comment, and never used anything I blogged about in our sessions, though sometimes I could swear he had been reading verrrry carefully!

    If you go off the case and decided you want to keep in touch, you could probably read and then post generic comments, "I hope Little baby is feeling better soon" "I hope you get some rest Mom!" but I would use common sense. AND asking your employer their preference never hurts.
  2. 0
    Thank you for your responses. My employer does not have an official policy on this.
  3. 1
    You can read....it might give you a nice perspective from the families points of view.

    NEVER POST NOR PARTICIPATE OR GIVE ANY ADVICE.
    itsnowornever likes this.
  4. 0
    I follow several of our graduates (NICU) blogs. I do not believe any of the parents are aware of me specifically and I personally cared for very few of these infants. It isn't a sneaky thing, they would let the nurses know they had a blog, the web address would be at the bedside. I enjoy knowing the outcomes, some are great, some are not so great. I really like hearing parent's perspectives on situations, even if they are not positive regarding the staff. I have never have left a comment on any of them. All of them are public and do not require a login. Patients do have any HIPAA privacy obligations and by not posting, I personally do not risk a HIPAA violation.

    I cannot imagine it would be harmful to post a non-specific supportive post without advice attached.
  5. 0
    But some people get carried away and some employers don't like it. Other than "You look awesome!" or "I'm so happy" I'd keep my public comments to myself.
  6. 3
    let's review what the health insurance portability and accontability act intends to do: protect patients from unauthorized access to their private health information. this blog may have limited subscriptions, but if you do not post on it, you have not revealed anything. if there is a list of subscribers and you are identifiable on it, that may lead some to wonder if you have revealed phi to the mother of the child (who is entitled to it, so that's not an issue).

    if you are able to read and never post, then you are not in danger of violating hipaa. if you read what other parents post about their kids, that's not a hipaa violation either, because the persons revealing the phi (if there is any), the parents, are not healthcare team members charged with safeguarding it by hipaa law.

    if your facility has a rule about participating (by which i would take to mean "posting") in such a blog, well, you're on your own if you flout it.
    brownbook, nursel56, and wooh like this.
  7. 1
    We actually asked our legal department about this since we have a lot of kids with blogs on the Caring Bridge. We can read them, but we are not to write on them. But....we have had several parents who write no so nice things about staff in their blogs or their family members write things about the staff. After seeing this,many of us will not access their blogs anymore.
    jadelpn likes this.
  8. 1
    And I would not want to get myself into something that says "nurse so and so sucks" or some other less than stellar comments. Or their interpretation of the education that maybe you gave them, that may or may not be what you meant. The fastest way to burnout is to go home and read blogs about the patients that you take care of every day. It could only serve to upset you and stay with you. You are there real life, so the memorex version can not be helpful to you. Moms with critically ill children will (and should) vent all sorts of things. But IMHO you, as a NICU nurse, need not be a party to it.
    wooh likes this.
  9. 0
    It definitely isn't a HIPAA issue, because you are not the one disclosing the information. Participating in the blog might create a situation where you cross the line, however, if you post. Personally I would avoid this situation.


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