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How to prove nurse looked up my medical record

Updated | Posted
Marmolada Marmolada (New) New

If I prove she did it will she get fired?

  1. 1. If I prove she did it will she get fired?

    • 52
      Yes
    • 3
      No

14 members have participated

I was hospitalized in the same hospital that my husband's friend just got a job. She was on training, in completely different ward. She would visit my room often, on her breaks etc. I didn't discuss my condition with her. And I didn't gave her permission to look up my records. One day she visit me in my hospital room and started patronizing me, saying that my calcium levels were really high and my potassium extrey low ( I was in DKA ) and that my kidneys are suffering etc. So in shock I asked her how can she possibly know that. She said my lab tests are very bad and the doctor ( mutual friend , nefrologist from different hospital) said that this indicates possible kidney shutting down. At this point I was so angry and I asked ' how come everybody seen my records but me?' She didn't answer. Instead she looked at my IV bag and ask what is it. I said it's done and for her to not to worry about it. I asked why she knows about my condition but she GOOGLED my IV bag!! And said ' that's what I tought'. I had enough! I said that this is invading my privacy and I do not wish to anyone but doctors to see my files. She did not care! Instead she was patronizing me about my type 1 diabetes! Since she's not my friend, but my husbands friend I was extremely upset and told my husband that this is illegal! He went and checked it, and apparently there's no entry from her login on my charts.

My question is , how could she looked it up without leaving her ID on it. What are other possible ways of finding out what's in my records? ( she knew things that neither me or my husband knew) And how can I prove it? I don't want to get her fired. I want my husband to believe me that she did that. Since there was no proof it seems like she's innocent. But she's not. She did look up my files. She checked my IV bag while I was telling her that I do not wish her to do it. She was working ( on break) , so it has to be some kind of violation. I need to know how she have that, how can I prove it?

JustBeachyNurse, RN

Specializes in Complex pediatrics turned LTC/subacute geriatrics. Has 11 years experience.

Contact the unit manager or medical records, especially if the records are electronic. Every single access of the medical records must be recorded with an electronic signature. If she accessed your records with her own ID the proof will be there, if she accessed with a trainer's ID or someone else's account that person will have a lot of explaining to do with administration and both your husband's friend and the other employee will be in a lot of hot water.

Penalties are huge for a facility permitting unauthorized access. File a HIPAA complaint with the hospital privacy officer or contact a patient representative. Assuming your statements are all true, she faces fines and sanctions for a HIPAA violation and the facility will likely terminate employment.

Your options: Contact medical records for an audit train of who accessed your medical records and lab results; contact a patient representative for assistance in working with medical records.

You may not want to get her fired but if this is true, this is exactly what she deserves. If she did this to you, she will do it to others. This is a blatant violation of federal law and a classic example of why HIPAA and patient privacy laws were put in place.

Edited to add: How would your husband know if the employee's electronic signature is on your records? Does your husband work in IT, informatics or medical records? Of course she will deny accessing your records. The electronic signature audit trail cannot be deleted.

NRSKarenRN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Vents, Telemetry, Home Care, Home infusion. Has 44 years experience.

I have moved your thread to allnurses HIPAA and Nursing Challenges forum.

See our FAQ section at top of section for The answer: Is this a HIPAA violation?.

You should have signed for Notice of Privacy form which will have name of person to contact and request accounting of viewing of your records. While you are still steamed, write out letter about situation including dates + times in question to narrow down chart access. You definitely need to report this situation. I'd start with:

1. Contact Nurse Manager of unit you were on to report situation. Ask for name of Hospital Privacy Officer/Medical Records Manager to send letter requesting accounting of who viewed your chart.

2. Create letter documenting dates and times per above post--give details and send to Privacy officer requesting response in 30 days.

3. If you can not obtain name of unit manager to get info, ask hospital phone operator for above names --if they state can't give out then ask for "Patient Relations Department to file a complaint about Privacy breach".

4. If they have electronic medical record, IT department will be able to conduct chart audit identifying all who accessed your chart.

Info sources:

[h=3]Sanction Guidelines for Privacy and Security Violations[/h]An indispensable source for answers is found here:

HIPAA - Frequently Asked Questions

I'm part of my health systems HIPAA Team + serve as Privacy Officer. Employees have been fired for viewing medical records of patients they are not caring for--including one physician. Hope you can get proper accounting and situation resolved to your satisfaction.

Unresolved? File federal HHS Office of Civil Rights report: How To File a Complaint

klone, MSN, RN

Specializes in Women's Health/OB Leadership. Has 15 years experience.

JustBeachyNurse said:

Edited to add: How would your husband know if the employee's electronic signature is on your records? Does your husband work in IT, informatics or medical records? Of course she will deny accessing your records. The electronic signature audit trail cannot be deleted.

I was just going to say this. Unless your husband works in the IT department, or risk management, there is NO WAY he would know who has accessed your electronic record.

Call the hospital's risk management department, call the manager of the department you were in, and call the manager of the department this woman works in. What she did was illegal and SO inappropriate.

I would definitely report this. Just the fact that she has discussed with you information that she couldn't know unless she had accessed your records is enough to get an internal investigation started. Clearly she came into that information somehow. And I agree that, unless your husband is an IT worker at that hospital, there is no way for him to know whether or not she accessed your record.

As for your poll question, I don't think anyone can definitely say "yes" or "no." There is a good chance that, if it is determined she accessed the records of someone she knows personally without authorization, she will get fired. I've seen it happen more than once. However, there are no guarantees.

If you really want to be nasty to her, you can also complain about her directly to the Federal OIG, which is the entity that enforces HIPAA.

Slightly off-topic, but are you going to be addressing with your husband the manifold problems with him having a "friend" who is so nasty and inappropriate to you?

Thank you for all answers.

I don't want to get her fired. She has six kids. And I would feel terrible. But at the same time she had no right to see my records.

Apparently my husband checked with the hospital if anyone outside the unit did log into my records. But , it's gonna sound horrible, I don't believe he did. She's an old friend of his and I'm doubting if he ( knowing she can lose job) had done that.

She denied it later on and said that if she did that it would be recorded in the hospital system.

This is why I wondered how else could she have done that.

Mas mentioned in one of the posts above, she could have used trainers ID.

As much as I want to prove that she did it, I hoped there was a way of doing it without possibly causing a job loss.

once again thank you for all answers. I will ask her to tell the truth one more time. If she is going to deny what she said in the room that day, I will contact the unit manager.

JustBeachyNurse, RN

Specializes in Complex pediatrics turned LTC/subacute geriatrics. Has 11 years experience.

She would be the cause of her termination not you. If she did it to you, she will do it to someone else

OrganizedChaos, LVN

Specializes in M/S, LTC, Corrections, PDN & drug rehab. Has 10 years experience.

I wouldn't feel guilty one bit. She has probably done it before & will do it again. If she's not being honest with you now, she won't be honest with you when you ask her again.

She made her bed, now she has to lay in it.

This happened to me. My children's father girlfriend looked up my records and discussed my records with someone who came back and told me. I called the HR department at the hospital who directed me to do a complaint. Long story short they traced it bck to her because her login id had been used to view my records more than once. She lied told the I asked her to do so but she was terminated. File a complaint and if in fact this person accessed your file they will be terminated for violation. Of Hippa

klone said:
I was just going to say this. Unless your husband works in the IT department, or risk management, there is NO WAY he would know who has accessed your electronic record.

Call the hospital's risk management department, call the manager of the department you were in, and call the manager of the department this woman works in. What she did was illegal and SO inappropriate.

Unless she is referring to an account that some major healthcare systems have for patients. For example "MyPennMedicine" for University Of Pennsylvania patients. You create an account and you as the patient can access EVERYTHING including logs of who accessed your medical records.

Marmolada said:
Thank you for all answers.

I don't want to get her fired. She has six kids. And I would feel terrible. But at the same time she had no right to see my records.

Apparently my husband checked with the hospital if anyone outside the unit did log into my records. But , it's gonna sound horrible, I don't believe he did. She's an old friend of his and I'm doubting if he ( knowing she can lose job) had done that.

She denied it later on and said that if she did that it would be recorded in the hospital system.

This is why I wondered how else could she have done that.

Mas mentioned in one of the posts above, she could have used trainers ID.

As much as I want to prove that she did it, I hoped there was a way of doing it without possibly causing a job loss.

once again thank you for all answers. I will ask her to tell the truth one more time. If she is going to deny what she said in the room that day, I will contact the unit manager.

Good for you. It seems like what you want is for her to admit it to your husband at a minimum. Have that one last conversation with her. Tell her you feel uncomfortable with her interfering with your privacy and all you are asking for is for her to admit how she found out your information and that you insist that she tells your husband or you will have to go to the hospital management to find out. Tell her you are giving her a chance to come clean and to you don't want her to lose her job but if she lies about what she said then you will have to report this.

Good luck! This happened to me many years ago but I never reported it. I regret not doing it. Put a stop to it if you can now because it could happen again.

klone, MSN, RN

Specializes in Women's Health/OB Leadership. Has 15 years experience.

Marmolada said:
Apparently my husband checked with the hospital if anyone outside the unit did log into my records. But , it's gonna sound horrible, I don't believe he did. She's an old friend of his and I'm doubting if he ( knowing she can lose job) had done that.

I don't believe he did this. It's not something that is done easily, and if an inquiry were to be made, it would need to be generated by you. Unless he has a buddy in IT who did it for him under the table, it's a formal process to do this.

klone, MSN, RN

Specializes in Women's Health/OB Leadership. Has 15 years experience.

And I would flat out ask her HOW she knew all your lab values. There is only one way to know that, and that's by looking at your record. Regardless of HOW she got that information, the fact is, she has no business with it, and it's a privacy violation whether she got it from your record, your nurse told her, or she dug the lab report out of the trash.

I'm just going to repeat this again because it bears repeating. Even if she did not go into your electronic chart, what she did was a privacy violation all the same, and completely inappropriate. As someone who was not assigned to care for you, she has no business KNOWING your lab information, let alone barging into your hospital room uninvited and discussing your care with you.

Marmolada said:
I don't want to get her fired. She has six kids.

Too bad, then, that she chose to violate hospital policy and Federal and state privacy law.

As for your husband's report that he "checked" on this, unless, as already noted, he has a friend in the hospital IT department who checked for him "under the table," there's no way the hospital would check on this and report to him on the results in any official way.

The more I hear about this, the more curious I'm becoming about the relationship between your husband and this "friend." His loyalties seem to be, at best, divided.

macawake, MSN

Has 13 years experience.

Marmolada said:
I was hospitalized in the same hospital that my husband's friend just got a job. She was on training, in completely different ward. She would visit my room often, on her breaks etc. I didn't discuss my condition with her. And I didn't gave her permission to look up my records. One day she visit me in my hospital room and started patronizing me, saying that my calcium levels were really high and my potassium extrey low ( I was in DKA ) and that my kidneys are suffering etc. So in shock I asked her how can she possibly know that. She said my lab tests are very bad and the doctor ( mutual friend , nefrologist from different hospital) said that this indicates possible kidney shutting down.

A bit of a tangent but I'm curious. OP, are you in the US?

Who's "the doctor", the nefrologist from a different hospital? Is s/he your doctor? Is it possible that this doctor (the mutual friend) has told your husband's friend about your lab values? The reason I ask is that you wrote that this doctor had told your husband's friend that your lab values might indicate that your kidneys were "shutting down".

To me, this means that your husband's friend must first have found out about your lab values and then consulted with the mutual friend doctor about them and that this must have taken place before she visited you in your hospital room. The timeline and reason/circumstance they were discussing your medical condition makes me wonder.

Was she in hospital attire/scrubs when she visited you? Is it possible that staff might have let some of your medical particulars slip if she identified herself as your friend and was also wore nursing clothes?

Quote
Instead she looked at my IV bag and ask what is it. I said it's done and for her to not to worry about it. I asked why she knows about my condition but she GOOGLED my IV bag!! And said ' that's what I tought'.

What a busybody :barf02:

Quote
My question is , how could she looked it up without leaving her ID on it.

By reading your chart on somebody else's login. Somehow though, I just get the feeling that she's been told parts of your medical details but hasn't read the entire chart. I base this on the fact that she felt it necessary to "play detective" and research the contents on your IV bag. The "that's what I thought" comment is pretty telling. She had some information about your medical status/current condition and treatments in advance, but not all.

Quote
She denied it later on and said that if she did that it would be recorded in the hospital system.

The fact that she said this, in my opinion supports my hunch that she's confident that she hasn't left an electronic footprint. I don't think that she has accessed your medical records under her own login. As the patient you could always ask the hospital to provide you a list of who's accessed your records though, that way you'd know for sure if you want to.

Quote
Apparently my husband checked with the hospital if anyone outside the unit did log into my records. But , it's gonna sound horrible, I don't believe he did. She's an old friend of his and I'm doubting if he ( knowing she can lose job) had done that.

As previous posters have stated, unless your husband works for IT (or similar) in the hospital you were treated I doubt that he has access to this information. I wouldn't come as a huge surprise to me if you're correct about your assumption/suspicion regarding if your husband has actually checked or not. I obviously don't know your husband, but he might well be protecting his friend.

Quote
As much as I want to prove that she did it, I hoped there was a way of doing it without possibly causing a job loss.

Having someone sticking their nose into your medical business when you don't want them to is upsetting and I can understand if you're upset, angry or hurt by this. I also understand the feeling of needing the other person to admit to and own their violation of your privacy. Also, it's my personal opinion that your husband needs to be supportive of you in this situation.

Honestly, I don't think that you should accept any responsiblity for her actions in this case. I don't know if an investigation would lead to her being disciplined or fired but if it did, it would be her own actions that lead to that result. You'd only share the responsibility if you'd asked her to inquire about/look up your medical information which judging by your post, you have not.

I'm sorry this happened to you OP.

Nonyvole, BSN, RN

Specializes in Emergency.

Part of being an employee in a hospital is signing a piece of paper saying that you will not access anybody's records unless and until you are assigned their care. (One notable exception is for people doing routine chart audits, but even then we don't go and start talking about it.)

Or, don't feel guilty that she will get in trouble for violating that agreement. She made her bed, now she gets to lie in it.

anie10

Specializes in TCU, Post-surgical, Infection Prevention. Has 2 years experience.

Marmolada said:
Thank you for all answers.

I don't want to get her fired. She has six kids. And I would feel terrible. But at the same time she had no right to see my records.

Apparently my husband checked with the hospital if anyone outside the unit did log into my records. But , it's gonna sound horrible, I don't believe he did. She's an old friend of his and I'm doubting if he ( knowing she can lose job) had done that.

She denied it later on and said that if she did that it would be recorded in the hospital system.

This is why I wondered how else could she have done that.

Mas mentioned in one of the posts above, she could have used trainers ID.

As much as I want to prove that she did it, I hoped there was a way of doing it without possibly causing a job loss.

once again thank you for all answers. I will ask her to tell the truth one more time. If she is going to deny what she said in the room that day, I will contact the unit manager.

Sorry, I would check my husband about his friend thinking she can violate my rights.

If she has 6 kids, then she has 6 benefactors, or at least 2. You cannot be responsible for the consequences she faces as a result of her actions.

Your husband's friend does not act like someone who is overly concerned with providing support for her six children. Being insanely curious is one thing, rubbing your nose in the fact that she obtained this personal information points to her less than altruistic intentions. I would not hesitate to file complaints about this mess if I were you.