hipaa violation???

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    Is it ok to for employers to make nurses leave documentaion where anyone, including family members can read it? We do this where I work and I think it violates the hipaa regs. Anyone have an opinion?
  2. 12 Comments so far...

  3. 0
    What kind of documentation?
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    general documentation, updates, mar, everything. We are to leave it outside the room, in the hallway and have witnessed family members going through it.
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    Quote from sleepdeprivation
    general documentation, updates, mar, everything. We are to leave it outside the room, in the hallway and have witnessed family members going through it.
    Do you mean in one of those wall pull down things? Our hospital and many others use them. Only rarely do I see families try to go through them.
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    Someone asked if it was a hipaa violation in my clinical the other day. The hospital we're at has the pull down things on the wall by the doors. Anyways, the instructor says it isn't because they charts aren't in plain view.
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    Absolutely not OK as described by the OP. Your instructor is wrong. If chart materials are accessible to just anyone, it's a violation. Facilities are obligated by law to make reasonable efforts to make PHI available only to people who are entitled to see it. If those "pull-down things," whatever that is, are locked and only staffers have the access key, fine. Otherwise, nope.
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    GrnTea is correct if they are not locked down then it is a violation. You have the answer already though because you have seen family members and visitors viewing the information and that information is PHI. Even if a nurse has a clipboard with Patient information on it then is should have a cover on it and never left in plain view or left unattended or left in any place where it could be lifted.
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    We call them "wallaroos" and our charts stay in them right near the pt room. There is a smaller locked area in the wallaroo where we keep medications such as Novolog/Levemir Pens, Nystatin powder, etc (multiple use meds). We have never had an issue where a visitor has tried to pull down the wallaroo and go through the chart. Our hospital has had wallaroos forever and has never had a HIPAA violation because of them.


    OP, the way you describe it, it sounds like documentation is sitting in plain sight outside of the room maybe on a table/taped to the wall? If so, definitely a HIPAA violation.
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    Quote from nrsang97
    Do you mean in one of those wall pull down things? Our hospital and many others use them. Only rarely do I see families try to go through them.
    No pull down things. These are folder holders on the wall. Open and not locked. We have told our managers and CNO that we feel we are violating hipaa but they seem not to care. Also we are now doing hand off reports in patients rooms, in front of patients and whoever else is there.
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    Before all charting was electronic, I recall that my old hospital had binders outside the room where flowsheets with VS and I&O were kept. They did away with that when electronic charting came about but yeah, not so kosher. When I was an aide, there were folders at the foot of everyone's beds for their flowsheets. The vast majority of the rooms were doubles or quads so if you had a sleeping granny in one bed with no visitors, the visitor from over yonder could easily try to sneak a peek. That was a long time ago, I have no idea if that hospital still uses those.


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