Employee Observations and HIPAA

  1. Our department management has agreed that nursing staff will be observed by interns who work for the marketing/customer service department within our organization. The observations are meant to see if we are providing customer service and we have been told the observers are going to accompany us into patient rooms when we examine them. I am uncomfortable with that and believe we should at least get the patient's permission. These aren't medical or nursing students - they're college kids getting a degree in marketing. If I was a patient, I wouldn't want them in the room when I'm discussing my personal health issues. Does anyone else see a problem with this? It isn't as though it's a nursing or medical student who needs to be present to learn about their profession - these people aren't there to learn about patient care - it's an HR observation.
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    About wildlaurelrn

    Joined: Jan '12; Posts: 3; Likes: 1


  3. by   Guttercat
    God Almighty.

    What next?
  4. by   caliotter3
    Quote from Guttercat
    God Almighty.What next?
    In total agreement, especially considering the great zeal with which many employers go after crucifying employees for HIPAA violations. How can they dream of justifying this?
  5. by   ckh23
    Sounds like another brilliant idea from administration.
  6. by   wildlaurelrn
    I say it's a HIPAA violation, but my manager says it's not because the interns sign confidentiality agreements...but they're still not directly involved in patient care and don't need to be in the room to evaluate customer service necessarily. It'd be different if they were a nurse or medical professional there to ensure competency (e.g., when we're checked off on things like portacath access or NG tube placements), but this has nothing to do with actual patient care.
  7. by   Verbal425
    Totally inappropriate.
  8. by   Lennonninja
    Wildly inappropriate.
  9. by   CrunchRN
    Do the patients get asked if it is ok with them? Ridunculous!
  10. by   frankie,RN
    Seems to me, that under HIPPA, the patients should have a right to know who the interns are and why they are in the room. I think even nursing students and such have to have permission of the patient. And I think the patient can refuse. So I think it's ok if the patient agrees to it and understands what these people are in the room for
  11. by   Esme12
    It's a tough one. Even if the students have signed a confidentiality agreement......HIPAA big deal is "need to know" do these students "need to know" this information about this patient and have the patient agreed to allow their information be shared with someone who doesn't "need to know " this information to care for the patient themselves.

    I am surprised in this day and age that administration has come up with this as an idea for marketing students to check for patient care as a marketing tool to advance their knowledge in school. Even if they are talking about point of service patient satisfaction....patients satisfaction has to do with the perks. How long they waited for the blanket, the temperature of their food....not the nurses assessment in the AM.

    I would file a note to your coporate compliance officer or drop a note to The JC about your concerns. http://www.jointcommission.org/report_a_complaint.aspx
  12. by   sapphire18
    Wow. Just wow. Bravo, upper management for this brilliant idea, bravo.
  13. by   HouTx
    I agree with PPs. There is an analagous situation -- in the OR, if an equipment rep or other non-clinician is going to be present to assist with the procedure, the patient HAS to be informed of it as part of the informed consent process. There are some HIPAA loopholes - having to do with information used in the general course of business/operations. But I am sure that this IS NOT the intent. This is unbelievably intrusive. I cannot imagine that any patient or family would permit it.

    Can you imagine what would happen if the local news got wind of this? Might just be worth exploring that avenue.
  14. by   alpha omega
    No. The patient or their proxy has to give permission.