breaching practices


My mother was admitted to the hospital that I practice in and I was not able to attend the treatment team's meeting about my mom's progress. Could I retrieving her medical record from the hospital computer or is this a breaching confidentiality?


292 Posts

Don't do it. If you aren't on the treatment team it is a hipaa violation.

One of the hospitals where I have privileges actually has software that scans looking for situations like this and they recently fired a nurse for looking in a family member's chart.

Would this be breaching confidentiality?

JustBeachyNurse, LPN

1 Article; 13,952 Posts

Specializes in Complex pedi to LTC/SA & now a manager. Has 13 years experience.
Would this be breaching confidentiality?

Yes. You need to go through medical records with a signed release. It's often considered a HIPAA violation and can result in termination. Especially EMRs security features will seek out unauthorized access, it's likely you will get caught and disciplined

Editorial Team / Admin

Silverdragon102, BSN

1 Article; 39,477 Posts

Specializes in Medical and general practice now LTC. Has 35 years experience.

You are asking for a lot of trouble to do this and not go through proper channels. Get your mum to ask for the policy on getting records so that you can read them

Specializes in Neuro Intensive Care. Has 1 years experience.

Absolutely. Don't do it. You could loose your job, or even worse, your license.


26 Posts

Specializes in Law, Operating Room. Has 16 years experience.

The answer to your questions are "no you may not access her record and yes this is breaching confidentiality." If you access your mom's (or any patient's) medical record for a reason other than treatment, payment, or hospital operations, you have violated HIPAA. You have also violated your hospital's policies. Your mother may authorize you to discuss her treatment with her providers. I recommend that, if she does, you limit your access to her medical information to discussions with her treaters just like any other family member would. By the way, as other folks here commented, hospitals routinely audit who has accessed a patient's medical record. This is especially true for VIPs or hospital employees who are patients.

JustBeachyNurse, LPN

1 Article; 13,952 Posts

Specializes in Complex pedi to LTC/SA & now a manager. Has 13 years experience.

If this is homework and you are in Canada (as some of your posts indicate) the information regarding HIPAA does not apply as it's a US regulation.

Specializes in Gerontology. Has 37 years experience.

It would be breaching confidentiality in Canada too as per The Privacy Act.

Specializes in SICU, trauma, neuro. Has 16 years experience.

Yes. We as hospital employees who may have received care there ourselves aren't even allowed to look at OUR OWN records without going through proper channels. I mean, we have the same access to our records as everyone else, but we can't use our username and password that we use to access our pts' charts, to access our own charts. We have to submit a request through the health info management office.

It would be a much better option to just contact her primary provider with any questions you have.

And I hope your mom is okay! Hugs

psu_213, BSN, RN

3,878 Posts

Specializes in Emergency, Telemetry, Transplant. Has 14 years experience.

At my hospital, we are actually allowed to look at our own medical records on the computer…i.e., we don't have to go through medical records…expect for mental health and drug tx. records.

However, looking at anyone else's records, except for your patients' records of course, is a very big No-No.

Has 33 years experience.

What do you think would happen if a student looked at her mother's medical record?