HIPPA violation concern

  1. Hey all! I'm a new first seamester student and I have a HIPPA question. If I mentioned to a family member of mine that a patient at a clinical site was abused by family, is that a violation? No names or any identifying markers were used. I'm a little panicked that I messed up. Please help!!
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  2. 15 Comments

  3. by   meanmaryjean
    1) It's HIPAA
    2) You should discuss nothing about patients with family. Let this be a lesson and don't do it again.
  4. by   Nurselady2b27
    Much thanks!
    Last edit by Nurselady2b27 on Sep 30
  5. by   Jory
    Yes it is. Just because you don't use a name doesn't mean you didn't violate HIPAA. You also don't know she was abused by her family. You were not there, you are assuming. You have to remember you are a nursing student, not a police investigator. If there ended up being an investigation, your gossiping can interfere with it and come back to bite you.
  6. by   Nurselady2b27
    Thank you all for your help!
  7. by   blondy2061h
    How the heck is saying "I took care of an abuse victim today" a HIPAA violation? There's no PHI in that. This idea that students can't talk about clinicals at all hinders learning and turning HIPAA in into something it isn't makes it harder to follow.
  8. by   CelticGoddess
    Quote from Jory
    Yes it is. Just because you don't use a name doesn't mean you didn't violate HIPAA. You also don't know she was abused by her family. You were not there, you are assuming. You have to remember you are a nursing student, not a police investigator. If there ended up being an investigation, your gossiping can interfere with it and come back to bite you.
    She said she didn't use any patient identifiers. To be a HIPAA violation, the patient has be able to be ID with the info. Just saying "I had a patient who is being abused" does not ID the patient. And you weren't there either. The patient might have told her that, or maybe she witnessed something.

    With that being said, OP, it's not a good idea to talk about patients with anyone other than your instructor, the primary nurse or MD.
  9. by   wernicke
    It's only a HIPAA violation if someone could reasonably deduce who you're talking about by the details you give. I tend to get around that by creating "composites", changing details, changing timeline, etc. The patient I had last week may have been from 2015, the guy I mentioned may be a composite of three separate patients I saw, etc. I think it's natural to discuss things through with your loved ones, they can help one cope. I've had things at work that have been tough to cope with emotionally, and it's very helpful being able to talk it out with a small number of loved ones (parents, sister, best friend, grandfather, and very close family friend, especially the family friend because he always has amazing advice with regard to coping, how to look at things, etc). Give very little detail, just the basics like "None of us were able to figure out what to do for a patient in distress, not even the MD, and I felt so powerless and guilty". etc.
  10. by   KelRN215
    Quote from Jory
    Yes it is. Just because you don't use a name doesn't mean you didn't violate HIPAA. You also don't know she was abused by her family. You were not there, you are assuming. You have to remember you are a nursing student, not a police investigator. If there ended up being an investigation, your gossiping can interfere with it and come back to bite you.
    If you said "I took care of an abuse victim at clinical today" that's not a HIPAA violation.

    If you said "you know that story of the little girl that was dropped by her father out of the second story window that we saw on the news yesterday? I took care of her today" that IS.

    You can share stories of patients with no identifying information. That's what we do on this site all the time.
  11. by   elijahvegas
    its not a hipaa violation. unless you offered enough information that someone can figure out who your patient was. why are you panicking? were you called out on it or something? i mean, violating hipaa is a big deal and all but is your family threatening to turn you into the board or something? haha
  12. by   Ben_Dover
    Chill...and stay away from too much caffeine.
    You're just in your first seamester... you're still learning! Lesson learned! You'll be fine!

    P.s.
    BTW...It's not seamester! It's seamaster!
  13. by   sallyrnrrt
    Yea, you messed up.....bit is a serious federal medical privacy issue....

    You might want to consider a different career

    You do not obviously know what you do not know...
  14. by   CrunchRN
    Quote from sallyrnrrt
    Yea, you messed up.....bit is a serious federal medical privacy issue....

    You might want to consider a different career

    You do not obviously know what you do not know...

    I would just ignore this one OP.

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