Is this a Violation?

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by Taylors33 Taylors33, ADN (New) New Nurse


I’m curious if this constitutes as a HIPAA violation. I was looking over my patients chart and noticed their address had a long unusual name. I entered the address in Google to confirm that said address matched what was in the chart. After I confirmed it, I started looking at addresses in the surrounding areas, browsing houses. After about 5 minutes my mind went “wait a minute isn’t this a HIPAA violation” and exited out of the site and resumed my charting. I honestly feel like It was a violation not matter how long I was “browsing” for. I appreciate any input, I feel horrible and guilty for allowing this to happen.

klone, MSN, RN

Specializes in OB-Gyn/Primary Care/Ambulatory Leadership. Has 16 years experience. 14,293 Posts

In your own words, what is a HIPAA violation, generally speaking?


Taylors33, ADN

2 Posts

 A HIPAA violation is when colleagues share a patients information with individuals not involved in my or others care. Posting private patient information to social media platforms. Leaving patient information lying around. Or opening a patient records that you are not involved with. 


RNperdiem, RN

Has 14 years experience. 4,542 Posts

Your common sense alerted you when you started crossing some boundaries. Then you were self-aware enough to stop looking up where this person lives and get back to work.

I wouldn't call nosiness a HIPPA violation, and you seem to have learned your lesson. Forgive yourself and move on.


6,319 Posts

Not a HIPAA violation.




Specializes in New Critical care NP, Critical care, Med-surg, LTC. Has 10 years experience. 4 Articles; 2,201 Posts

You didn't identify personal information to anyone else. No violation. There have been times I've searched the obituary of patients I cared for to learn more about them. Never shared with anyone that I cared for them, or searched and left pages open for others to see. I don't think there's anything wrong with that. 

mtmkjr, BSN

371 Posts


However there are other violations of privacy to be considered. What if you found out that the person's home was in a bad section of town/wealthy area and (subconsciously even) made judgments about them based on that - I can see for some that could factor into the care-giving. 

You did the right thing getting out of there, but there isn't any compliance issue

Edited by mtmkjr

Nurse Beth, MSN

Specializes in Med Surg, Tele, ICU, Ortho. Has 30 years experience. 149 Articles; 2,671 Posts

Not HIPAA but not professional.

As a patient I would not like this.