Another run of the mill "did I violate".

  1. I've been a nurse for 6 years and never had a breech that I know of. I always try to be extra careful. I work as a home health nurse and we regularly keep each other up to date on patients in our area as we all can cover each patient in our designated area. One of our patients was our property manager and was with us several months ago. I never saw her and never talked to her at that time. Today and I saw her and said, "oh, I saw you were on with our company." other than that she divulged what she had done and how she was doing etc etc. A friend of our family was in the room at the time. I didnt say anything about her health status and just nodded my head as she told me how she was doing but of course I worry about hippa because its still all fuzzy to me. Did I violate?
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    About hhnurse0407

    Joined: Jan '13; Posts: 6; Likes: 1


  3. by   hhnurse0407
    Just to clarify this was the property manager for my house.
  4. by   sapphire18
    Yes, thats a violation. Don't ever bring up anything like that in public- I wouldn't even bring it up in private, to be honest.
  5. by   MAtoLVN
    Yes, that is a violation. Why would you even bring that up? How would you like it if someone mentioned that you had medical issues in front of a friend. Or in general someone who you knew your info without them being your patient?
  6. by   hhnurse0407
    I said something out of concern for her, as she had just asked about my husbands health. I didnt say I knew anything about what she was being seen for, and clarified that with her, just told her that I saw she was "with our agency". Violation or not, I didn't do it maliciously and it slipped. The first time in 6 years that I know of. Not really sure that warrented a rude response.
  7. by   Altra
    You asked whether your comment violated that person's HIPAA rights - and you've received responses.
    Last edit by Altra on Jan 25, '13 : Reason: spelling
  8. by   drowningdaily
    I think in the grand scheme of hippa this is minor. I wouldn't lose sleep over it. Just chalk it up to a lesson learned!
  9. by   hhnurse0407
    Thank you @drowning. I just wanted some reassurance I wasn't going to get fined, my license taken away, my job ruined over something this tiny. I will chalk it up to experence and steer clear of it in the future!
  10. by   drowningdaily
    It sounds like she was happy to share. I actually have cared for neighbors and former teachers and it is a challenge. I now work several towns away, which has simplified things!
  11. by   Inori
    I let the patient take the lead and otherwise treat her as if we have not met. or eye contact and nod. Only if she says do you remember me will i say yes and still let her say what she wishes otherwise if questioned by 3rd party why do you know X i'd change the topic and or answer with sorry but that's private info. next. Just be careful next time no work related info outside of work situation and only with peopel who need to know to provideb care. Pt info isnt' gossip, good luck
  12. by   angiehope111
    This is a very minor violation and unless someone turned you in, it's something that you'll never hear anything about. Like someone said, chalk it up to a lesson learned!

    And you're right, there were some unnecessarily rude. Just because you asked a question doesn't give people a right to answer in a rude manner.
  13. by   Daisy_08
    I think you did violate thier privacy, whether you were trying to be mean is not the point. In this case she did not seem to mind that you and the other person knew, however that will not always be.

    You were talking to her as a friend and brought up privileged information, in front of someone else. I would have been very embarrassed and felt betrayed by you and the company.
    Last edit by Daisy_08 on Jan 24, '13 : Reason: Spacing
  14. by   Meriwhen
    Quote from drowningdaily
    It sounds like she was happy to share. I actually have cared for neighbors and former teachers and it is a challenge. I now work several towns away, which has simplified things!
    But it is up to the patient to initiate that sharing, not the nurse.

    OP: yes, you did violate HIPAA. However, it seems like this incident has probably resolved itself without consequences, unless said patient decides to file a complaint. You'll most likely be fine, so don't beat yourself up...however, learn from this mistake, because the next patient may not be as forgiving.

    I agree with Inori: the best way to handle seeing patients on the outside is to let them acknowledge you first. And let them set the tone for how they want the interaction to proceed. You may feel like you're being rude by doing this, especially if you developed a close relationship with the patient during the course of their care--you probably don't want the patient to think you're blowing them off.

    But patient confidentiality comes first and foremost. In public, they may ignore you. They may just want to say "Hi" and leave it at that. They may or may not tell others who you are. Or they may want to give you the full in-depth update. But it's THEIR call, and you have to make sure you don't misstep, even in the name of good manners.

    Hang in there