I maybe in trouble, HIPPA Violation - page 5

by ms.amy03 17,753 Views | 51 Comments

It might be easier to discuss what I know about HIPPA. I am a nursing student to begin with. From what I've learned is that sharing patient information with those who are not directly involved with that patient's care is wrong.... Read More


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    If your post includes everything you posted on FB, then it is not a HIPAA violation. There are no patient identifiers, no name of the facility, and no PHI. You may have broken some school policy, but you did not violate HIPAA, and probably did not violate any BON regulation or state law (though it is impossible to know this for sure without knowing what state you are in).

    Nurses get so worked up about HIPAA. It is true that a HIPAA violation can get you fired, in trouble with the board or even slapped with a civil suit (though not for violating HIPAA itself). Nurses cannot, however, be punished by the feds for violating HIPAA/HITECH, at least not in my estimation. I do no see how HIPAA applies to the run of the mill staff nurse. Nurses should be more worried about protecting patient confidentiality as a part of the profession then a scary acronym created by the feds.
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    Quote from getmethisnownurse
    I'm not trying to kick you when your down, but you just posted this again, but on a public forum, with your first name and your picture visible. Remember that things said on the internet can follow you, I know from personal experience. If I were you, I'd consider deleting your pictures, changing your user name and editing the opening message. Pretty much every nurse reads allnurses, so surely your classmates and possible teachers do too.

    I hope everything works out for you. Everyone makes mistakes, point is we learn from them.
    Exactly! That was the first thing I noticed when I saw the OP: name and picture on a completely open, searchable, site.

    I hope you didn't get kicked out, but you really need to do a lot of learning about technology and media.

    I do think today's generations are being set up to fail in this aspect because they do not know a world without social media. They don't really understand the impact of an online trail. I made sure to teach my kids about it because there's no way to avoid being social online. The rules will fall into place eventually, but until then, we have to be extra careful with our public postings.

    Sent from my iPhone using allnurses.com
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    You'd be surprised how not having a facebook will save you a world of trouble. I deleted it in the middle of nursing school because it was too distracting, and after some of the BS that happened in nursing school that I didn't know about until significantly AFTER the event(s), it made getting along with people much easier. It also meant I wasn't on my phone 24/7 checking facebook posts.

    I wouldn't have been put off by the post, but what everyone else said. Either delete your facebook, or don't post anything clinical related. It might've been easier to keep things super personal if facebook hadn't gotten as big as it is now (though there's always the chance of anything coming out), but those days are long gone.
    salvadordolly likes this.
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    Quote from ms.amy03
    I just want to say thank you for the responses, all of you. I am very worried about myself. I do have a heart, a great big heart and I love being with people and caring for them, I never want to hurt anyone and I've done that untentionally. I should take extra precautions now and rethink about who I want to add to my social network.
    That was very unprofessional regardless if you mentioned names or not BUT, I dont feel like your classmate(s) should have just tokd on you, they could have pulled you to the side and explain why and what was wrong with your post and tell you the consequences. Classmates should stick together not go against one another. Well I am glad that you took full respobsibility and didnt make up any excuses, I hope that your punishment isnt severe hun good luck
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    Although I watch what I say on my social media and dont really put personal things up, that is one of the reasons why I dont have many classmates on my social media, a girl got in trouble in my class for lying about why she didnt come to clinicals and having the truth on her status, I dont trust anyone even if we are cool.
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    This is exactly why I do not post about my day at work on Facebook or other social media sites. Even with the maximum privacy settings you would be surprised on what your program, classmates and employers can see. I have a friend who was not friends with any of her coworkers on Facebook and she posted about her day. It was very generic and no patient identifiers were used...she ended up being called into her manager's office and they talked about this Facebook post. It was just a warning, but it shows you that Big Brother is watching, so be careful with what you post.
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    Always think...would I want this on a billboard? Because when you post something on the Internet that is exactly what you are doing.
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    Ultimately, you have to remember that people can figure things out. It doesn't take a Sherlock Holmes style genius; it really doesn't. It may be true that you didn't post anything that was specifically "personally identifiable information", but it's also still true that anyone who can read your posts on Facebook and knows where you work could infer "personally identifiable information" about the people you saw that day.

    Even if you're not subject to technical HIPAA violations, you may be violating the spirit (and intent) of the law by giving away information about people, even when you don't mean to. And that information can hurt people. The upshot is that you should not ever post about personal experiences in healthcare on any part of the internet, ever.

    Amy, I am pretty sure that you are a great nurse. It's also probably true that nobody's privacy was actually compromised by your Facebook post. We both also need to recognize that someone's privacy (or even safety) absolutely could have been hurt by your post, and might be, next time. And that is important.

    I hope that you are okay, and that you keep your job, because I believe that you are good at what you do and that you care about people's privacy. I also hope that you understand why you are in trouble right now, and why that is important.
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    Quote from psu_213

    "Yuck, today at work I saw maggots crawling out of someone's vagina." (Sorry if this is too graphic.) Not a HIPAA violation because of a lack of identifying information. If, however, I posted this on FB, I may be fired as this violates my hospital's social media policy.

    OTOH, I could post "Saw Icabod Issacs today. Hope I get the chance to see him under better circumstances...no when he is a patient in the ER." Generally non-offensive, but a huge HIPAA violation since personal information was disclosed.

    As a rule, I never post about work on FB...nothing! Not even "Wow, I had a great day at work." Even though what you post may not be a HIPAA violation your school, employer, prospective employers, etc. may be able to see those posts and who knows how even the most innocent post may become twisted.
    Unfortunately, you are incorrect. You don't have to mention a name for it to be a HIPAA violation. That is the biggest myth of HIPAA. If you read the guidelines, all you have to do is post "enough" information.

    If I posted on Facebook, "Had the opportunity to take care of this wonderful patient last night, they are with the Lord now." I have my employer listed as New York General and I list my profession as a nurse.

    The next day in the obituaries, there is ONE patient listed that died on the date you said you lost a patient, that died at New York General.

    Congrats, everyone now knows who your patient was because you posted enough information for that particular patient to be identified.

    Better to say nothing and keep your job than to say something and have to defend it.
    Ella26 likes this.
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    I have a FB, but I only post a few times a year- I never post statuses. I only post statuses to thank everyone for my birthday wishes. I never post anything about work or clinicals. Thats just down right asking for it to me, even if you posted you had a good day. Its unnecessary. Just dont do it. Then you never have to worry about being called into the office or that you violated HIPAA.
    GrnTea likes this.


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