HIPPA/ Student confidentiality?

Specialties School


Specializes in School Nursing, Home Health.

Question, so sometimes I call other school nurses to ask them questions ,like a "what would you do?" type of thing. Sometimes I give details, no names of course, just wondering if this could potentially turn into a HIPPA violation? What do you guys think?

I could always ask my boss, but I usually like to refer to other nurses. Just a general question.

Specializes in Pediatrics Retired.

Unlikely...unless the "other" nurse figured it out and told someone else and it ended up on Facebook that you were the source. That's extreme, however, and would be very unprofessional and "snake belly" low down.

I do talk to other nurses in our district frequently under the caveat we are talking about confidential information. I don't think it would be a confidentiality violation if it was under the premise of patient advocacy, since your are employees of the same organization, even if you disclosed the name to them. I think...

Specializes in ICU/community health/school nursing.

The quick answer is no, not really because you're not a "covered entity."

The longer answer is probably not. We're a "need to know" world. Maybe the other nurse needs enough detail to properly answer the question. We are more concerned about general privacy and I think I signed some sort of confidentiality agreement when I started here that prohibits me from, say...taking something to FB or the world that's larger than my campus. Since you don't have another nurse at your campus, and that other nurse has likely signed a confidentiality agreement, you're probably OK.

Specializes in school nursing, ortho, trauma.

if you can't identify the person and you are generalizing i.e.: "i have a student that hasn't turned in their latest immunizations and keeps giving me appointment cards then cancelling them - what do you do in that situation?" then i think you are probably fine. You really shouldn't be discussing the specifics of your student's with others that aren't privvy to their information, but on occasion we all do need to bounce ideas off another nurse brain, so i'd be lying if i said i never called up another nurse and said "what do you think about this..." I try to keep it very non-descript. No ages or genders if i can help it.

I don't have any other Nurse's in my district. The nurses from 2 other local districts and I all serve as a sounding board for one another at times. I always make sure the student could not be identified by the information I am giving and we all know that any information shared is confidential. It has worked really well for us.

Specializes in School Nursing, Home Health.

Thanks guys!

It's that I asked a nurse today her opinion on how much to disclose on a medical alert for teachers to see. And when I looked at her contacts, I noticed that she is probably the nurses niece. I told her the diagnosis because it had very specific symptoms (which I put both on her medical alert in the school page so its not kept secret), but it made me think.

I trust her and she is not one to go discuss students diagnosis with family members but I just wanted to ask.

Specializes in NCSN.

I talk with the nurses in my district all the time about things like that. As everyone else said, as long as the student can't be identified it should be fine. There are sometimes when I transfer a student or when my students go into 5th grade where I conference with the other nurse, but that is covered with the "Need to know" parts of FERPA and HIPPA

Specializes in Pedi.

HIPAA (not HIPPA) doesn't apply to schools, schools are governed by FERPA. And, no, it's not a violation to ask another nurse's opinion when no identifying details are shared. We literally do that on this site every single day.

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