hipaa violation or not?

  1. 0
    scenario: nurse is in restaurant with friend. Nurse tells friend about day at work and briefly tells about her patients condition and what the day was like with this patient. Nurse uses NO name what so ever. Conversation changes to other topics. Someone over heard said nurse describing client. Reports this to the nurses office manager and files written complaint. Nurse does not know who this person is but office manager says it was the clients uncle who said nurse does not know. Question: Is this a hipaa violation and if it is, how severe is it? No names were used in the conversation at all. Any imput anyone?

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  2. 20 Comments...

  3. 0
    It's probably technically not a violation.

    I will tell family and friends stories but never in a public place.
  4. 0
    that's the point. public place. does that make a big difference? either way...bad idea.
  5. 7
    It's a violation if enough information is given to identify the patient. The patient's name does not have to be spoken.
    Meriwhen, elkpark, poppycat, and 4 others like this.
  6. 0
    yes, if there's enough information given to identify the patient. that would be the key. I imagine, since no names were mentioned. Seeing this nurse worked all over a vast area with a few nursing agencies, and not in one home care setting, one office or hospital there seems there would not be enough evidence to track whom she was speaking about. That's the information I have gathered thus far. I bet it really depends on a few factors when it is investigated for technicalities. However speaking in a public place is always a bad idea no matter what. Lessen learned for her.
  7. 0
    moved for best reponse
  8. 5
    Never discuss patient details in public. You never know who might overhear, and some unique conditions are very identifiable if recognized by the right person. If enough details are stated then yes it could be at minimum a patient confidentiality violation. HIPAA might be claimed but may not be a true violation. Patient confidentiality violations can be grounds for discipline, termination and possibly reportable to the BoN as an ethics violation.

    When I worked ED, we had a sign over the break room door stating " what you see here, what you hear here, it must stay here when you leave here". Sage advice

    I work pedi PDN/private duty. Most of my patients have a form of feeding issue, CP, and/or epilepsy. Quite a few have rare conditions and syndromes. If I spoke of the xyzqq12404 deletion patient (made up genetic condition but most of the genomic condition names sound the same to me) in public and a friend/family member of the client overheard it would be a big issue as only 2 people in my state, one in my area have this rare condition and thus indicating that I'm speaking about a client not a family member could easily be considered an identifier
    mama.RN, LadyFree28, SoldierNurse22, and 2 others like this.
  9. 3
    Yes, it's a violation. The Uncle was able to identify who she was talking about even with no name provided. NEVER EVER talk about patients or anything related in public. CYA!!

    edit: How serious it is, I don't know, but I guess she will find out.
    elkpark, poppycat, and mrsmamabear2002 like this.
  10. 2
    In this day and age, it still amazes me that some nurses still talk about their experiences openly in public with enough identifiers; I'm all for debriefing, however, AN seems to be the best place to do so, even though that's open for debate.

    Seems we live in a small world after all...
    Last edit by LadyFree28 on Feb 21
    elkpark and mrsmamabear2002 like this.
  11. 2
    Quote from NightNurseRN13
    Yes, it's a violation. The Uncle was able to identify who she was talking about even with no name provided. NEVER EVER talk about patients or anything related in public. CYA!!

    edit: How serious it is, I don't know, but I guess she will find out.
    I wonder, just for the moment, they were NOT talking about the Uncle's relative; that may be a long shot; still doesn't mean it didn't need to be reported, but when you work in a specialized area, any pt can seems like one's "family member".
    jadelpn and wooh like this.


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