HIPAA Question or ethics issue? - page 2
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... Read More
Jul 27, '12I 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.
Jul 28, '12But 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.
Jul 30, '12let'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.
Jul 31, '12We 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.
Jul 31, '12And 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.
Jul 31, '12It 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.