HIPPA violation or not?

  1. Can you discuss situations you have with a patient with others? For example discussing the situation with a friend, mentor or husband. The discussion contains NO protected health information covered by HIPPA, only the situation. Is this a violation of HIPPA? To my knowledge and reading the act, it is not since the patient can not be identified in any way. Any input would be appreciated!
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  2. Visit Wrigley1017 profile page

    About Wrigley1017, RN

    Joined: Feb '18; Posts: 2

    7 Comments

  3. by   Wuzzie
    Even if it doesn't specifically say it's wrong this is just a bad idea all around. Management is super sensitive about HIPAA (as well they should be) so it's best to play it safe and refrain from discussing patients with your family/friends. I suppose a generic "I'm sad because I took care of a really young cancer patient today" would be acceptable. Anything more than that and your treading into a grey zone.
  4. by   Wrigley1017
    What about a situation you need to discuss with someone because you feel something happened wrong and are disturbed, upset by it and looking for guidance? You can not go to your supervisor because they are involved in what you feel is wrong. Who do you go to? Or what do you do?
  5. by   Wuzzie
    Quote from Alissa Nicholson
    What about a situation you need to discuss with someone because you feel something happened wrong and are disturbed, upset by it and looking for guidance? You can not go to your supervisor because they are involved in what you feel is wrong. Who do you go to? Or what do you do?
    You especially do not discuss it outside of the confines of your facility. If it's patient-care related you should have a mechanism to report this. If it is something else you can try human resources (but remember their priority is protecting the facility not you), EAP, your supervisor's boss (not as a tattletale but to be guided), your CNS, a trusted colleague. We can help to a certain degree with "what would you do" kind of things but sometimes it's hard to convey what happened without giving up too much information and again, especially if it's a patient care issue, it's probably better to handle it internally as you never know who's reading this. If your username is your name you might want to change that too.
  6. by   JKL33
    Quote from Wrigley1017
    What about a situation you need to discuss with someone because you feel something happened wrong and are disturbed, upset by it and looking for guidance? You can not go to your supervisor because they are involved in what you feel is wrong. Who do you go to? Or what do you do?

    Your company's Compliance Hotline.

    Discussing things with anyone who doesn't have a "need to know" relationship with the situation might be considered either a HIPAA violation or a violation of your company's "privacy practices," depending on the details. It won't matter either way; if they find out you will be terminated.

    If this is a situation that left you feeling uneasy (as opposed to something that absolutely must without question be reported), I would mull it over a little and give yourself some time to process it. But, as mentioned, please don't post any details here.

    Other than that we each have to make our own decisions about these things and I think it's best to advise you strictly according to the laws and common practices.

    Take care ~
  7. by   ruby_jane
    Quote from Wrigley1017
    What about a situation you need to discuss with someone because you feel something happened wrong and are disturbed, upset by it and looking for guidance? You can not go to your supervisor because they are involved in what you feel is wrong. Who do you go to? Or what do you do?
    Ombudsman in facility if available.

    Chain of command - if you've spoken with the supervisor, go to the next level.

    Employee Assistance Program if this is "resolved" in a way you don't prefer.
  8. by   Here.I.Stand
    I would think it very appropriate to discuss it with your supervisor or even charge nurse -- they are already familiar with the pts on their unit. Obviously you can't tell your sister "Abel is dying in my ICU... it's so sad. His brother Cain whacked him on the head in a fit of jealousy!" But your nurse manager or charge nurse? They know that Abel is in room 1234 with a non-survivable TBI. It's not a HIPAA vio to discuss it with them.
  9. by   Mammanurse
    The only thing I would say is "sorry I am late checking on you, another pt had an emergency"

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