HIPPA during phone calls

  1. Many families call for an update over the phone. How do you know if it is truly the person who is the POA or emergency contact? I inform them that I can not give out info on the phone. Most get angry with me. Does anyone else experience this?
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    About Tboland88

    Joined: Feb '18; Posts: 21; Likes: 6
    from NJ , US
    Specialty: 1 year(s) of experience


  3. by   CodeQueenRN22
    I always tell them I can not give out any information over the phone. The only thing I can tell you is she is fine she is resting and stable. You can call their room phone if you have any questions or come out to the hospital to visit them
  4. by   heron
    Some facilities use a pre-established code word or phrase to identify those with permission to get information.

    As for identifying who's calling, the rule of thumb is it depends on who's calling whom. If you place the call and ask for a person by name, you can reasonably assume that that's who you're talking to. On the other hand, if the person calls you, you need anither way to verify identity, like the above mentioned code.

    ETA: and, yes, people will get angry. I simply say that I'm not trying to be unhelpful, that's how the rules are written to protect privacy. Then I suggest they call either the pt or poa, whichever is appropriate.
  5. by   JKL33
    As above.

    At least inpatient, this can largely be solved with the use of codes specific to each admission. Obviously some situations will be exceptions. Don't be defensive on the phone. Use a pleasant phone voice and inform the caller that while you can't give out information in this manner, you'll be happy to transfer the call to the room or give the patient a message.
  6. by   psu_213
    My hospital gives a PIN for each pt that family, etc. can use when calling in.

    I someone gets mad ("but I'm her son/daughter/mother/etc.) I tell them "I'm sorry, I understand you are concerned about their condition, but I cannot release this information over the phone without the PIN." If the keep up, I tell them, "were dealing with the federal privacy law, and I could get in big trouble if I violate it." No matter what, I am nice, but I am firm about the idea that I will not give them any information.

    P.S. I had to put a lot of effort into making sure I did not say "PIN number."
  7. by   kakamegamama
    Not sure about HIPPA during phone calls. But, with HIPAA, identifying who can and cannot be given info over the phone regarding the patient is important. If they get mad, they get mad.....that to me, often means they are not the ones who have permission to be given info. I agree with others that they can call the patient's room directly or the poa and ask them.
  8. by   Horseshoe
    Quote from Tboland88
    Most get angry with me.
    Not your problem. Patient privacy is your priority.
  9. by   Mavrick
    What does HIPPA mean??

    HIPAA refers to Health Insurance Portability and Acountability Act.
  10. by   psu_213
    Quote from Mavrick
    What does HIPPA mean??
    I think this is a losing battle.
  11. by   Tboland88
    I think my hospital should start using the Pin system.
  12. by   nurse2033
    I worked at a hospital that used the last few numbers of their medical record number. This way all you have to do is look at their wristband to see if the family has the right number. I will tell family that there is no way for us to tell if it is the press calling, or the crazy uncle, or a stalker. They usually get the point. Once the husband said to me over the phone "if I have to give that number one more time I'm coming down there with my gun". For realsies. It didn't go over particularly well...
  13. by   /username
    A password/pre arranged identification method is usually the best way. The hospital has a duty to ensure reasonable data protections, so you're also covered if family gives out the password.