A breach of confidentiality??? - page 2

Is it a breach of confidentiality to discuss a case or a work situation if names, places, or dates are not mentioned?... Read More

  1. by   NRSKarenRN
    Some info to ponder.


    Core Rules of Netiquette

    From Hippocrates to facsimile. Protecting patient confidentiality is more difficult and more important than ever before

    Student Nurses Pose HIPAA Challenges: De-Identification, Minimum Necessary (when using patient information)

    Little off topic but interesting read:
    Guidelines for the Clinical Use of Electronic Mail with Patients
  2. by   oramar
    I saw a philosoper name of John Lucas on tv. He is a professor of Philosophy at some Ivy league school. He gave a view of privacy and confidentiality that was historic in its focus. He opinion is that the age of privacy is over. He said the concept of privacy was unheard of until about 400 years ago. He says it's time has come and gone. He said that people will continue to fuss and fume over it for sometime to come but you all can just forget it. In addition I saw a young computer genius who was frustrated by the out of touch politicians to which he was giving testimony at senate hearing on privacy. He burst out and told them there is no such thing as privacy anymore, everybody can know anything about anyone if they care to do so. Of course that does not release us from our responsibilities or the probability that we might be sued.
  3. by   zumalong
    I so agree Heather. This issue of confidentiality is a mute point--I will use different patients blended into one in order to teach my students. It makes it more human. I would never break confidentiality of a patient. (let them prove it--innocent until proven guilty I say) Either sh** or get off the pot.
  4. by   NurseDennie
    Originally posted by fergus51: I became concerned when I read a post about a 26 week old premie who had suffered a gun shot wound in utero. I discussed it with my nurse manager and she feels that it would be too easy to identify someone like this, so it would be a breach of confidentiality to discuss it....
    It seems to me that if this or any other specific thing that had been discussed here was "too easy to identify" then that must mean that the details have been perhaps been in the news reports or something. Seems to me that if it's easy to identify then it's already out in the public, and discussion wouldn't be a problem with confidentiality. JMHO


  5. by   ceecel.dee
    In the hospital, where someone might ask a specific question about a specific patient (the housekeeper may ask, "is that Theresa's ex-mother-in-law?") (medical records may ask, "is she still drinking?") (lab may ask,"what is his dx?")(front desk may ask,"is she pregnant?"), there is the rule of ON A NEED TO KNOW BASIS ONLY.

    On this board, we post in generalities. No names, no institutional names, lots of "you get the picture" phrases with the story telling. One story may top another, but most of us come across the same or very similar situation sometime in our career, dependant of course on our area of specialty, and the story could be any one of ours. How is that breeching confidentiality codes?

    Careful,yes..........but don't we live that way already?
  6. by   fergus51
    Originally posted by sunnygirl272

    ohhh..fergus..how kind of you to be concerned about our professionalism, enough to discuss us w/ your nurse mgr....:stone wait....i wonder if you are the narc.....ooops...did i just type & send that? dang cast keeps getting in the way....
    Umm, seeing as none of you work with me and I was discussing it in generalizations (notice the phrase "someone like this") I wasn't too worried about narcing. As far as I know most of you aren't in Canada and this incident took place in the US. Not that it is any of your concern what I discuss with anyone. If you have a problem with me personally you can pm me rather than accusing me of something I didn't do on this thread.
    Last edit by fergus51 on Jun 30, '02
  7. by   fergus51
    Originally posted by NurseDennie

    It seems to me that if this or any other specific thing that had been discussed here was "too easy to identify" then that must mean that the details have been perhaps been in the news reports or something. Seems to me that if it's easy to identify then it's already out in the public, and discussion wouldn't be a problem with confidentiality. JMHO


    JMHO, but that's only true if you are talking about ONLY what is already in the media. If I treated that baby and went on to talk about his labs, his parents attitudes, etc. then I don't think that's allowed.
  8. by   P_RN
    I visited a former co-worker on our sister unit....other end of the same floor. When I got back about 5 minutes later my NM asked me what I was doing over there (probably imagined I was looking to transfer!!).

    I told her I'd been to see G______.

    WOW the NM got all bent outta shape and said that was a breach. Technically that was, but as she was manager of both units she probably had more info than I did. Maybe I should have said I was applying to transfer.......nah I'd still be under her hoof.

    Another time a housekeeper came up to the desk with a handful of papers she found on the floor near the FAX machine (ours was in an office between the two units, not on the unit itself) There were lab reports, physicians' dictations, and such. She said she only read them all to see where to take the papers. Hmmmmm.

    And what happens if a FAX goes to the wrong person?

    How about charts in a carousel, there for anyone to see?
  9. by   adrienurse
    I think we're all better off not disclosing the city/town we work in and especially not the facility's name. We have to be as general about the details we disclose as possible.

    I for one could really get in trouble for breaching confidentiality here. In my province it is against the law and carries a fine of $50,000 if prosecuted.

    Now what details released to anyone not directly caring for the patient, constitute a breach of confidentiality, depend on where you live and where you work. This may be worth checking into so you can know your rights. It's really tricky, a person needs to decompress when she/he gets home from work -- should they truly get in trouble just for talking about their day with their spouse/bb?

    Apart from whether or not you have the potential for being caught, it also depends what the potential for negative consequenses are. Telling your spouse about about so and so pooping all over the place this morning is harmless, but what if a family member of that person is sitting behind you on the bus and overhears, puts 2+2 together and takes offense. You can get into a lot of trouble.

    Just be careful!
    Last edit by adrienurse on Jun 30, '02
  10. by   Stargazer
    NRSKaren, thanks for posting those articles. The one on patient confidentiality vis-a-vis email communication was particularly relevant to my job--I've already forwarded to all the clinicians in my dept. and to a couple of folks in Risk Management.
  11. by   NRSKarenRN
    Glad you found info helpful.

    Here is another site with many useful HIPAA articles:
  12. by   colleen10
    I just wanted to say that one summer while I was in college I temped at a professional medical office that was affiliated with the university that I attended.

    I was there for a few months and I was hired to assist the office staff with pulling and putting back charts, scheduling patients, etc.

    I never signed any "confidentiality agreement" nor did anyone ever explain to me the type of information that I would see and the importance of confidentiality. I am not a gossip and I do understand the need for confidentiality.

    I had access to and saw all kinds of medical files, doctor's notes, lab reports, referrals, you name it. These were fellow students, professors, employees and atheletes for my university. When patients called in I was also the first person that they would speak with and give information about their symptoms.

    I think here we all know how important confidentiality is but if we see in our areas where we work breaches in confidentiality we should bring it to attention if for no one else but the dignity and trust of the patient.

    The office I worked in had no procedures in place nor did they take much time to interview employees such as myself. For all they knew I could have been selling information on patients to lord knows who. At the end of that summer I left that office with the knowledge that I never wanted to be a patient there for that reason and I am now a lot more concientous of my records.
  13. by   futureccrn
    Dear Sleepyeyes,

    In my previous post, what I meant was that in the posts that the allnurse.com member got turned it for, there were NO PT NAMES mentioned. Management stated that because of the detail in which this nurse described the pt events and the fact that there was a link to this nurses homepage where the nurse mentioned where she lived and worked that it was a breach of confidentiality. Now one would have to work at the facility to know the details of the breached posts and one would have to do a lot of research to find out who the exact pt was yet they considered what was written in the post a breach.

    Management had NO IDEA that this website existed until the allnurse.com member's coworker turned the posts over to them.

    Thank you,