Hi all, I'm an ARNP student and was recently reprimanded by an instructor for what she views as a 'possible HIPAA violation'. This is my last quarter as an ARNP student so this is a bit of a shock!
I learned that in order to share chart notes with instructors/etc that we could either photocopy or e-mail them, as long as all patient identifying data was not on there and/or had been blacked out. Pretty much all you can have is age and sex, not even a birthdate . So I sent a note about a patient to my preceptor the other day--a regular SOAP note with NO identifying information. All it included was a first initial, age, and presumed ethnicity--all of which I thought were ok. I got back a frantic e-mail from her saying she'd shared this with everyone at the clinic and the school and that it was to be investigated. I have sent DOZENS of e-mails just like this to various preceptors/instructors while I've been in school and have never had a problem. What did I miss?
Any advice much appreciated. Ugh. :-(
Apr 11, '08
Ok..I'm an RN student, but I'll take a shot at this one.
I think she is freaking out over nothing as well as the person that told her that they are investigating it.
Age is important, because it relates to care b/c some diseases/conditions are age-related...the exact birthdate is most likely protected by HIPAA and not necessary.
Race is also important, because there are diseases/conditions that are more prevalent in certain racial groups than others...again, that is part of your care.
Patient's initials, I have seen used in professional studies, on the news, in the paper, you name it...there are millions of combinations of initials.
My question is this: Why is she sharing it with "everyone" at the clinic anyway? Maybe that is what the HIPAA violation is and NOT what you sent her. She had a right to review it b/c that is part of your instruction and that is PROTECTED by HIPAA and not considered a violation...but sharing it with "the entire clinic" probably was not.
You see what I'm saying?
Last edit by justme1972 on Apr 11, '08