Hey everyone! There has been some chit-chat here over the past day or so regarding HIPAA compliance and message boards. I'm really nervous about this now and am wondering how exactly we can handle this? Someone posted that even though we don't use names, some people still consider this a breech of confidentiality. I don't really understand HOW. If no one knows what hospital you work at, and you don't use names...how can it be an offense?
This board has been such a wonderful place to come for support, answers, and new ideas. Part of the comfort is that it's anonymous. I mean, there are nurses posting from other level III units in my city, but I still don't know for sure were they work, and at least one person was sure they knew were I was working but she was wrong. So what is the problem?
The only thing I can think of is that a family member of a patient might search nursing message boards and find a case that sounds familiar. But even then, if the hospital and patient aren't identified, there is no proof that it's their family member. I can understand if you're in the cafeteria at your workplace talking about a patient, but this is the internet! It's a HUGE world out there! I mean, read any nursing magazine and you will find case studies reported from specific hospitals, often over specific periods of time, discussing patients in detail - how is that not a HIPAA offense but chatting on an anonymous message board is?
I'd just hate to lose this as a place where we NICU nurses can come to chat, because it's just such a wonderful (albeit ADDICTING) place!