HIPPA? New to EMR...

  1. With our new EMR there have surfaced a few questions.

    A- I can now see the E.R. status board, and it seems a nice tool to see what "might" be coming up to the floor. Is this a HIPPA violation? Is it illegal for me/us to simply see what is going on that may directly affect us up on the floor?

    B- Once we get notification that Pt X is being admitted it is nice to open their chart, when they are in E.R. to go through history, PTS meds etc. in order to know the SBAR well. Too many times the report we get is lacking in pertinent info, so this has been a welcome development. When does this become a HIPPA violation?

    C- I work at 2 different facilities, I can see each facility in our network through EMR and can glance at the facility I am working at "tomorrow" just to get a feel for IF they will need me or not. When does this become a violation?

    There are probably a few more, basically I don't want to put myself in harms way with all this new technology. Some of my fellow RN's are liberal about it, and I see their point, and some are very paranoid and say that we can't do anything like I have mentioned here. Come to think of it, our Facility (Corporation) would have served us well to have an education class on this topic...
  2. Visit exit96 profile page

    About exit96

    Joined: May '09; Posts: 437; Likes: 362
    RN; from US
    Specialty: 3 year(s) of experience in EMERGENCY, ICU,M/S


  3. by   MunoRN
    What might be a violation of your facility's privacy policies and what's a HIPAA violation can be two different things. HIPAA requires that facilities take measures to ensure the privacy of patient info and to create policies that limit access to a 'need to know'. So while HIPAA is a bit short on specifics, your facility likely has more specific rules.

    A) Access to the ER census is usually limited to NTL's on the floors.

    B) If you become aware that a patient will be under your care, it's usually acceptable to review their chart.

    C) Pertinent patient information can be accessed when it's necessary in the care of a patient, which wouldn't cover trying to get an idea of what the census is to plan your schedule. If you're only seeing a list of unit occupancy numbers then that's not a HIPAA violation but it might go against your facility rules. HIPAA doesn't actually protect the identity of who is in the hospital by itself since it allows you to confirm that so-and-so is in the hospital, although browsing a list of patient names (if that's how you're looking at the census) might well be against your facility policy.
  4. by   NicuGal
    We can look at the census and see what is in L/D but we can't go into the chart unless it is an impending admit for us. Once you get report on a patient you can look in the chart. Remember that if you enter a chart you aren't authorized to be in, they can track you they your electronic footprint. We just had someone fired for looking at a Mom's chart who was read noted for an infection.
  5. by   mappers
    You are not really giving us enough information to go by. What exactly do you see on the "status board"? Does it contain patient names and DOB, etc?

    Going into a chart on a patient you have received report on is not inappropriate and is not a HIPAA violation.

    Seeing a hospital census (as in Unit A has 10 filled beds, Unit B has 15 openings) has nothing to do with HIPAA. Our hospital posts the census of each unit on the intranet.