When patients ask us what are the treatments for their condition, can we say "from my experinces i usually see this things and steps being done." not to say they will get the same treatment as everyone else in their condition, but this is what i usually see being done. Also can we suggest unaware patients/families to do their own reseach online if they already know the diagnoses? Suggesting them to become more aware of choices and questions so they can be prepare to ask doctors questions. How about clients who are GCS 15 and have their kids as the speaker for them, inquiring if the doctors can call and update their other relatives who is also a doctor? My answer for this question was "i dont know if the doctor will call since your alert and your kids are alert, but if they dont call best time to get to to talk to your relative doctor is get them on the phone when the doctors come to see you so that way the doctor will talk to them infront of you."
Jul 13, '13
by Meriwhen, ASN, BSN, RN Senior Moderator
It's a HIPAA violation if in your example, you talk about a patient's care in a way that that patient can be identified.
If you say something like, "In similar cases, I've seen the doctor start off with X, Y and Z," that's not a HIPAA violation.
That being said, you want to keep your scope of practice in mind and not step out of it. I may say "I've seen the doctor try X or prescribe Y" but I'll always add, "but that's something you and the doctor will have to discuss."
And it's always good to educate your patients. It's best if you can provide the education (explanation, handouts, etc.). Though if you suggest the self-education route...the fact is that most of them are going to turn to Google, not the public library. There's as much misinformation on the web--if not more--than there is accurate information, so make sure you advise them to go to reputable websites sites such as WebMD, the CDC, etc., to do their research.
As far as alerting relatives, I tell them that due to HIPAA regulations, we can't do it and this is something that they will have to do. Yes, I could say that we'd call if they were willing to sign a release of information for everyone they want us to talk to...but to be honest, the doctor and I have more than enough to do without having to call extended family with patient update bulletins. If the patient is AOx4 and they're got family visiting them every day or thereabouts, then THEY can call Uncle Billy and Great Cousin Sue in Montana and give them the 411.
Last edit by Meriwhen on Jul 13, '13