HIPAA and patients name

  1. Ok
    So I have a question about HIPAA and email! I was always told to use initials and not the patients name when sending email. Do you guys believe this to be true? I think I pissed off a co-worker when I brought this to her attention!!
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    About JennieJenRN

    Joined: Nov '01; Posts: 51
    Peds Cardio-thoracic ICU


  3. by   widi96
    I hadn't heard of that, and it would almost seem a little contradictory given that we have computerized everything and all of the patient's information is on that computer and going between the computers anyway. Are you talking about an in hospital e-mail system (i.e. can't send or receive from the outside) - if so, I would think a full name would be allowable, but if it is an e-mail from the 'outside' then I would think you would have to be much more careful.
  4. by   canoehead
    You can use a name on a fax which is just as insecure...
  5. by   Cienna2000
    I'm pre-nursing and work in medical records of a community clinic. We use paper charts and where I work the rule is to use chart numbers in emails. If not able to use chart numbers we are supposed to use first initial and last name if we are writing an email in regards to a patient that has not established care (so they do not have a chart number).

    I also agree with Canoehead and the insecurity of faxing patient information. But it is one of those things where technology both helps and hurts us.
  6. by   JennieJenRN
    Yes, this is hospital email and you can access it from any computer around the world! That was my concern what if I was at the library and opened my email??
  7. by   Alois Wolf
    If it's for professional use within the Hospital or to other hospitals that are taking care of the pt. then no problem... if not then it's a no-no. We have a simple way of making sure we are safe though, each client at our facility is assigned a number so that whoever is looking at the information can only figure out who it is by looking up that persons number. (6366, 5460 etc. etc.) I just got my yearly in-service on this not too long ago.
    Last edit by Alois Wolf on Nov 5, '07
  8. by   grinsngripe
    i have been curious regarding taking assignment in hospital as a CNA. i was taught to write the patients room number not their name, on my personal notes. so i was in training and the girl told me their names, but i wrote their corresponding room numbers for my own assigment. later i was reprimanded that i HAVE to write their name on my paper, which i throw away at the end of shift anyways!
    i specifically avoiding writing names d/ t HIPPA and explained that to nurse ed. who again told me i was wrong.. WAS I? any input id appreciate, i really wanted that job, and i truely felt bullyed. that was one of many issues, i obviously wasnt in the in click.
  9. by   caliotter3

    There is nothing wrong in writing the name of the patient on your notes that are used within the facility. At the end of the shift, you don't remove the notes from the facility but place them in the bin to be shredded, or shred the notes yourself.
  10. by   grinsngripe
    Thanks, I appreciate your input. I did notice many times CNAs left their assignments in open view on their carts and such, as i did, i would look it over , gather my supplies before entering and then write down my findings. and that was where i had concern. i would have appreciated being told it was required, rather than just reporting me for it. It was strickly enforced to me threw a state orientation NOT to do any patient info with their name on it, that you should use their medical record #, pt Id #, anything to define them but a name. that was my HIPPA training, and i was trying to dothe best right thing. ,
  11. by   caliotter3
    My notes have always stayed in my pocket. I never leave them on any cart or table where someone can see them or worse, take them. I did this even before I even heard about HIPAA.
  12. by   grinsngripe
    Thats the proper"'ist" way *L*
    ahh, i do suppose i have a way to go sometimes...
    i get soo nervous at times its like a handicap!
    thanks again for an outside view.
  13. by   EricJRN
    Quote from caliotter3
    I did this even before I even heard about HIPAA.
    That's a great point. While people make a big fuss over the HIPAA privacy provisions, in reality we should have been doing most of these things long before any rule came along.